Sheikh Mohammed speaks to CNN
Sheikh Mohammed: You have to create space for yourself. What you have to do, people have vision and some will be running only in his small vision and small safety zone. We have a vision to be number one; so airlines or horses or whatever it is; if you do it well and you have your vision and that you can establish.
John Defterios: I was looking back, 2 months after 9/11 you put a plane order in for 15 billion dollars and 6 months after the restructuring started during this banking crisis, you put a giant 11 billion dollar order in for planes. You obviously are trying to mark your territory in the airline space and be bold about it.
Sheikh Mohammed: I think it is opportunities; you have to grab the opportunity and not lose that opportunity for another opportunity. Therefore I think Emirates Airlines, giving order after 11th September because that was an opportunity. And now of course because of the growth, the airport growth and the passenger growth and the tourist growth I think that's why they order these more. And just for your information, I think they will have to order some more in the air show in Farnborough.
John Defterios: So another large order in July, is that what you are saying?
Sheikh Mohammed: I think they will have to because of the growth, where I see the growth in Dubai Airport and the UAE is very very big.
John Defterios: Listening to you, you don't seem to share any of the concerns for example that the International Monetary Fund has about a persisting recession in Dubai and throughout the region.
Sheikh Mohammed: Well I think there are recessions all over the world. And I don't call it a recession, I call it a challenge. Every day was a challenge to us; a challenge to find the water, a challenge to find a meal, a challenge, everyday a challenge. Life will be boring if there is no challenge. Or we call it recession or we call it whatever you call it. No Dubai and UAE, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the emirates are fine; you know, we know it is recession, we know it is challenge and we're dealing with it.
John Defterios: How did the global recession and the crisis that faced Dubai, redefine the relationship within the UAE and specifically the relationship with Abu Dhabi?
Sheikh Mohammed: The relationship between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, both ruling family is from the same tribe. So we are one family and the UAE is not only Abu Dhabi and Dubai, there is other five other Emirates and we all look after each other. We are one nation and we are one country and one president.
John Defterios: If we can delve into this a little bit more. After what we've seen in the last six months, will additional external support be necessary in this restructuring that's taking place?
Sheikh Mohammed: Restructure, the companies are restructuring because it's a new world. I'm not worried about the company... the company have got the wealth. So they have something, and they will come back very very quickly, but the relationship, this is very good between the emirates. And we have a challenge now to bring the other emirates in line with Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It's not only me, as a Chairman, as a ruler or as a prime minister, no there is a team behind us. The worst is passed by and now we are looking for the next growth and we have to be ready for it and take the opportunity and get in before the rest of the world. Everything we started, we are going to finish. Maybe some projects that we are thinking of or in the books that might delay for 6 months, 8 months, one year. But the rest is going forward.
John Defterios: You don't seem overly concerned about the restructuring that needs to take place in the future. We've reached the bottom, you think we can move forward with no real hurdles to cross in the future?
Sheikh Mohammed: We're already moving forward. The structure is ready, bridges, roads, tunnels, everything. We don't have to build, so we are ready now to move forward with the country.
John Defterios: So you have an advantage with infrastructure... how do you protect these sectors from the competing states around you, like Qatar or Saudi Arabia or even Abu Dhabi that have energy resources that you don't have?
Sheikh Mohammed: Abu Dhabi is my country and Qatar is my neighbour and Saudi Arabia. I wish them good luck and I will help, if I can. Even if they ask me, I will help with their growth. Because we need... the whole area needs to grow really, not only United Arab Emirates.
John Defterios: You've created a fourth trading hub. Most people thought of Asia, Europe and the United States in the past. But you personally helped define what the Middle East stands for but should there be greater unification?
Sheikh Mohammed: We understand that the power is shifting, so therefore we have to be ready for it.
John Defterios: If I'm looking at the market of the Middle East at a market of 300 million people and then you have the Gulf states trying to create a single currency. Are you a supporter of the single currency in that process?
Sheikh Mohammed: The euro is in trouble and we thought of the Gulf currency and we said, well the UAE said 'not yet' and I think they are right... until we are sure. So therefore now we will not change anything for the time being until we see something solid really and profitable.
John Defterios: So you think the stability of the dollar peg serves the interests of the UAE?
Sheikh Mohammed: Yes, yes and we still believe in the dollar.Friday, June 25, 2010