As the west is trying to isolate Moscow diplomatically, the United Arab Emirates is one of the few countries to maintain a neutral stand towards Russia. The Globe is condemning Russia widely due to its invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, UAE was among the countries that backed the resolution at the emergency session of the UN General Assembly, criticising Russia over its invasion of its south-western neighbour and asking Moscow to withdraw its forces immediately from Ukraine.
However, the Gulf country decided not to vote on a similar context in UN Security Council on Friday.
The state “believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence,” and UAE’s priority was to “encourage all parties to resort to diplomatic action”, wrote Anwar Gargash, UAE Presidential Advisor, in a Twitter post.
UNGA resolutions are heavy on political sides but are generally non-binding. In contrast, those adopted by UNSC are more consequential. Russia is also one of the veto power in the UNSC.
O Tuesday, UAE called for “space for a diplomatic off-ramp” maintenance and “channels” to remain open. The UAE’s envoy in the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, said on Wednesday, “Right now, we recognise this resolution adopted here today is a necessary signal of where we need to be going.”
UAE’s Balancing Act
Although the gulf state, which assumed the UN Security Presidency in February, has been a US Ally for a long time. But according to the experts, UAE’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine crisis highlights a shift. The attempt to balance relations in a new world order shows that the gulf state can’t ignore Moscow and Beijing.
Gulf State Analytics is a gulf region-based geopolitical risk consultancy. Its CEO and founder, Giorgio Cafiero, said, “Abu Dhabi seeks to conduct a flexible foreign policy in which its relations are diversified beyond the UAE’s Western partnerships.
Last week UN Secretary of state Antony Binken called UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayad Al Nahyan to emphasise the importance of building a robust international response to support Ukrainian Sovereignty.
But by abstaining from voting in UNSC on Wednesday, it chose not to respond to what the US said. At present, the relationship between both countries is going through a test.
On Thursday, The UAE said that Ukrainians could get visas on arrival reversing its order not to issue permits after more than 1 million people flee the conflict area.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Gulf country also announced humanitarian aid of 5 million dollars in response to an appeal made by the UNHRC.
Deep Alliance, Strong Ties
As per analysts, Abu Dhabi is navigating its relations in Russia during the crisis. Its stand on Russia only tells that UAE has a strong alliance with Moscow.
Andreas Krieg, an associate professor at the School of Security Studies at King’s College, London, said that the UAE wants to support Russia while appearing neutral. He highlighted that UAE supported UNGA Resolution, not the UNSC one because it will degrade its ties with Moscow.
UAE helps Russia a lot in the Middle East. It plays a vital role in Russian involvement in Lybia, Syria, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa.
Russia has been a strong ally of President Bashar Al-Assad during the country’s decade long war. Its intervention in 2015 enabled the UAE to get its lost territory from the rebels. Russia also deployed more than 63,000 military men to Syria to support Abu Dhabi.
Despite the partnership, UAE will not support Russia directly, explained Krieg. He said that it will instead help Moscow by helping its
“oligarchs and the deep state around Putin to bypass sanctions.”
Edited by: Kiran Maharana
Published by: Vishakha Verma