Sheikh Mohammed's interview with WAM on IDEX 2009
Q: The UAE has achieved a global reputation for staging and organising security and defence exhibitions; this reputation is due to its success in hosting IDEX and the Dubai Air show. What are the factors that have helped the UAE achieve this great success?
Sheikh Mohammed: The exhibition industry requires a number of factors to succeed and achieve its goals, especially international exhibitions.
The UAE was one of the region's countries that pioneered the exhibition industry, especially economic, tourism, technology and sports gatherings. It has accomplished state-of-art infrastructure to organise and operate major exhibitions, through government support and qualified UAE nationals, experienced in organising successful exhibitions such as IDEX, Dubai Aviation Exhibition and others.
Our open economic policies and markets attract international companies, investment and businessmen, who find the UAE to be secure and stable, with flexible financial and commercial laws. These are among the major factors that have brought about this success...not to mention that the UAE is a marketing hub and a major station in the region's markets.
Q: How does Your Highness view the significance of the Abu Dhabi International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) 2009, which opens tomorrow and will run through until February 26, 2009?
Sheikh Mohammed: We are proud IDEX exhibition's success and the growing participation of major companies from industrialised countries. IDEX enjoys a fine reputation among military equipment and armament manufacturers. Hence, they showcase the latest military technology in UAE markets. This is, of course, due to the great confidence these companies have in UAE markets and institutions.
IDEX is not an end in itself, but a means to promote our country, as it represents an opportunity for foreigners to visit our country and learn about our achievements, cultural acquisitions, Arab traditions and noble Islamic values. It is also an opportunity for UAE citizens to interact with other cultures.
Q: What preparations have you made to host the Dubai International Aviation Exhibition in 2010?
Sheikh Mohammed: Hosting the Dubai International Aviation Exhibition has become standard practice for skilled nationals from the UAE, who can organise and run the exhibition efficiently, regardless of the number of participants...self-confidence and ability are major factors of success. Thank Allah, we have succeeded in developing this exhibition to the point that it has become one of the world's most specialised exhibitions. So, our preparations for the Dubai International Aviation Exhibition in 2010 remain the same as ever, and our national cadres are ready in expectation of the event.
We hope to see new faces and specialised companies in the Aviation industry at the Dubai International Aviation Exhibition, so that businessmen in the UAE and the region can keep abreast of the latest technology in the world of aviation.
We are confident that this international commercial and tourism event will attract new manufacturers and industry players. This will be an additional challenge to the organisers in terms of receiving the guests and providing them with facilities and logistic support, so that they feel comfortable and secure and return to their countries with a good impression and nice memories of our country, people and culture.
Q: Some experts believe that holding defence exhibitions in the UAE could ignite armament in the region and encourage more spending on the acquisition of weapons. How does Your Highness comment on this?
Sheikh Mohammed: Distance can no longer prevent countries in the region from armament, as dealings between weapon manufacturers and clients is faster and easier than it used to be...there are no barriers between buyers and sellers for defence exhibitions to replace the internet, mobile phones and other advanced means of communication.
Exhibitions held in the UAE are a way to showcase the latest technology. Hosting such commercial and economic exhibitions does not mean we intend to encourage anyone to buy weapons, and no country can buy weapons directly from the exhibition. Furthermore, the Dubai International Aviation Exhibition has been transformed by 70-80 per cent into a civil show. The exhibits of civilian interest form the biggest portion of the exhibition's deals.
As for IDEX and the Dubai Aviation exhibitions, they are commercial and tourist events, and do not aim to encourage countries to arm. They encourage tourists, businesspeople, companies and high ranking officials. Hence, the exhibitions stir local market activity.
Q: Are you satisfied with the level of defence cooperation and coordination among Gulf Countries?
Sheikh Mohammed: We, in the AGCC system, do not only aim to focus on defence and security coordination among us, as common economic , social bonds and history are the basis on which the Council was established. The AGCC has no aggressive intention towards any country regionally or internationally. Peace and stability in the region and the world are the axis of AGCC policy. We do not promote the building of strong armies to carry out attacks or launch wars.
The priority is protecting the independence of our states and safeguarding of our borders and national achievements against foreign aggression and greed. Social, educational, human and economic developments come top of our list of priorities.
As for defence and security coordination among the AGCC member states, it exists and progresses in accordance with the development of political and security situations in the region and the world. The leaders of our countries are pleased with this level of coordination, which aims to protect our peoples and safeguard our independence, maintain peace and stability, enhance the concept of coexistence and peaceful dialogue in solving disputes and problems among countries of the region, if any dispute exists.
Q: Do you think that Arab countries are prepared to build a common defence industry to meet their defence requirements and reduce their dependence on foreign sources?
Sheikh Mohammed: Unfortunately, our countries haven't, until now, been successful in achieving the dreams or prospects of their peoples. They have yet to reach a joint understanding to establish a common Arab Market , so how can these countries think of building a defence industry or any other industry in the absence of solid ground or a common vision?
Economic unity is the key solution to all our peoples problems...living, social and security and others issues. Europe didn't unite politically and militarily until it had united economically. The same applies to the European common market and the European Union.
We hope to see Arabs enjoy competent economic power that can achieve Arab dreams at an economic level.Saturday, February 21, 2009