View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rolling Out the Red Carpet

What a week for Emirati hospitality! One day the hand of friendship is being extended to American Vice-President Dick Cheney, the next day the UAE is welcoming Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It would be difficult to think of two world leaders who are further apart politically.

In extending such hospitality to these leaders it would be erroneous to conclude that the United Arab Emirates is embracing wholeheartedly the views, convictions and policies of the countries that these visitors represent.

It is hoped that UAE leaders might roll out the red carpet further and welcome for a robust debate the leaders of Israel and Palestine. This country could have a strategic role in bringing opposing leaders to the table and brokering initiatives for reconciliation. In addition to claiming world records for high towers, giant malls and a booming economy it would be superb to see the UAE taking a top prize for peacemaking.

Geoff Pound

Image: Salaam for two Presidents.