Gates in UAE to discuss tense Middle East

UAE shares US` concerns about instability in Yemen, Iran`s role in region.

Abu Dhabi: US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday to discuss with United Arab Emirates officials the waves of popular protests sweeping the Middle East.

Gates arrived from Iraq about 5:30 pm (1330 GMT), according to a report.

During his brief visit, Gates is to meet with Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, according to those travelling with him.

A senior defence official said that Gates will reaffirm the US administration`s approach to protests, namely that reforms are necessary but should be accomplished from evolutionary change, rather than through revolution.

"We believe that the demonstrations have to be non-violent and the reactions of the governments have to be non-violent," Gates said in remarks before US soldiers in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"Beyond those principles, we need to take each country at a time," he said.

The UAE, an oil-rich ally of the US, shares Washington`s concerns about instability in Yemen and the role in the region of Iran, which various Gulf Arab monarchies have accused of plotting and interference, especially in Bahrain.

The UAE sent security forces to Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, to help the government there deal with pro-democracy protesters in the kingdom.

The cool Western response to that intervention angered Abu Dhabi, and caused it to delay the deployment of 12 combat aircraft to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

The UAE and Qatar were the only Arab countries to take part in the Libyan intervention.

Bureau Report

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