Building capacity a key in counter-piracy, says Abdullah bin Zayed
Much has been done to tackle the problems caused by maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, but more needs to done to build the capacity of Somalia and its neighbours to control their own shores and patrol their own waters, the UAE Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said yesterday.
He made his remarks in a statement issued ahead of a two-day international conference on Counter Piracy, organised by the UAE Foreign Ministry in partnership with local port operators, which opens in Dubai tomorrow.
The text of the statement follows: "Despite a marked decline in pirate attacks launched from the coast of Somalia over the last two years, maritime piracy remains a threat to regional security and global commerce. Representatives from around the globe are therefore gathering in Dubai tomorrow, 11th September and on 12th September, to discuss ways of strengthening the response of the international community to meet this challenge. Building on the success of two previous conferences, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with its conference partners, DP World and Abu Dhabi Ports Company, has again convened this high-level initiative on countering piracy." "At this year's conference, the focus is on regional capacity-building in order to allow countries in the region to control their own shores and patrol their own waters. Improving the capacity of the navies and coast guards of Somalia and its neighbours will not only substantially diminish pirate attacks, it will also help the region in facing other challenges, such as illegal fishing and human trafficking." "Central to the UAE's counter-piracy strategy is the recognition that the capability and capacity of countries in the region to combat piracy are varied and at different stages of development. Determining specific gaps thus allows the UAE to target assistance where it can have the greatest impact, thereby advancing regional partners' security and stability." "The UAE tailors assistance to the specific needs of a country. This is shown, for example, in the support provided to the coast guard and navy of the Seychelles, where the UAE has helped to build facilities and has provided patrol planes. By conducting a needs assessment and then helping chart a trajectory towards a comprehensive national strategy, the UAE assists its regional partners in helping themselves. This enables countries to develop their own counter-piracy capability, strengthen their rule of law, and protect their sovereignty and territory against the scourge of maritime piracy." "But we do not just focus on other countries. At home, the UAE has made progress in strengthening the military's maritime security capability, engaging and training private industry on best practices in areas such as port security, and using the legal system as a tool for prosecuting and deterring piracy-related offences".
"The recent reduction in piracy in the Indian Ocean region is the result of exactly these kind of strategic, focused and multi-disciplinary approaches that include security operations, investments in economic and social development, humanitarian assistance, and capacity building for local security forces and legal systems." "In Dubai this week, ministers, government officials, industry representatives, military security personnel and academics will further discuss how to continue the fight against piracy, which has created so much human suffering and economic damage. The international community has come a long way, but we are not there yet."
DIFC Courts and Supreme Court of New South Wales sign MoG
Legal and business ties between Australia and the UAE were yesterday cemented through the signing of a Memorandum of Guidance (MoG) between the New South Wales Supreme Court and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.
The milestone document, which covers the mutual enforcement of money judgments, was signed at a ceremony in Sydney, Australia, by NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang, in the presence of NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner MP and the Charge d'Affaires for the UAE Embassy to Australia, Abdulbaset Al Marzooqi.
The DIFC Courts are Dubai's established English language, commercial common law judicial system, and form a key part of the legal system of the United Arab Emirates - Australia's largest Middle Eastern trading partner. The New South Wales Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction within Australia's largest state in civil matters, and also hears the most serious criminal matters. Its civil and commercial jurisdiction is the busiest of any Australian court, and is internationally renowned for its experience and expertise in dispute resolution.
Dubai and New South Wales both serve as major investment gateways into their respective countries and wider regions. New South Wales is the regional headquarters of more than 600 blue chip companies, and the state generates 31% of Australia's Gross Domestic Product. Like the DIFC, New South Wales is a key regional hub for the financial services sector, with 59 of the 64 banks operating in Australia based in the state capital Sydney.
The memorandum represents the first time an Australian court has entered into an understanding to consult and cooperate with the DIFC Courts on the enforcement of each party's money judgments in the other's courts. Chief Justices Bathurst and Hwang agreed the memorandum would give certainty and clarity to investors, businesses and legal professionals operating in each jurisdiction by defining, for the first time ever, the method of enforcement of judgments.
Michael Hwang commented on the occasion, "As business becomes ever more global, it is imperative that Courts connect to support and protect that international commerce. Without a clear appreciation of enforcement and judicial procedures across borders, investors are wary of developing the trade and services' networks that underpin long term economic expansion. This memorandum with the Supreme Court of New South Wales will bring confidence and certainty to the relationship between our two courts and our increasingly interlinked business communities, helping to boost growth and create new economic opportunities in both the UAE and Australia." NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner, said, "NSW welcomes this initiative to build the relationship between our State and the UAE, which is one of our priority markets. Bringing greater certainty to cross-border commerce will contribute to the mutual growth of international trade." Hon. T.F. Bathurst, Chief Justice, the Supreme Court of New South Wales, said, "Dubai represents an expanding area of trade for New South Wales and Australian entrepreneurs so it makes sense for our respective legal systems to better support these growing business relationships with clear and concise reciprocal procedures. This agreement gives certainty to cross border enforcement of monetary judgments between our jurisdictions." The MoG is concerned only with judgments requiring a person to pay a sum of money to another person. It also sets out the procedures which a person seeking to enforce a New South Wales Supreme Court judgment in the DIFC Courts would need to follow, and vice versa. The enforcement guidance has been written with the objective of ensuring that claims are dealt with swiftly and generally without the need for oral evidence.
Since the DIFC Courts' jurisdiction was opened to businesses worldwide in October 2011, the Courts' money judgments can be enforced internationally through treaties such as the GCC Convention and Riyadh Convention, conventions with China, India and France and reciprocal arrangements with many common law courts overseas. Most recently, in January 2013, the DIFC Courts signed a memorandum with the Commercial Court of England and Wales, which defined similar key issues, including the mutual enforcement of money judgments.
The signing also brings to three the number of memoranda now in place between the NSW Supreme Court and international jurisdictions. Other agreements covering issues arising under foreign law have previously been signed with the Singapore Supreme Court and New York State Court of Appeals.
UAE supports views of 11 G20 nations on Syria, says Abdullah
UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday said that the United Arab Emirates fully supports the position taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the summit of the G20 nations held recently in Russia and also supports the views expressed by 11 of the G20 nations in their joint statement.
The text of the statement was as follows:
"St. Petersburg, Russia September 6, 2013 Joint Statement on Syria The Leaders and Representatives of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America made the following statement on the margins of the Group of 20 Nations Leader's Meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia: The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal. The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere. Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons.
We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.
We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world's rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. Those who perpetrated these crimes must be held accountable.
Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council's responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognise that the Council remains paralysed as it has been for two and a half years. The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability. We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.
We commit to supporting longer term international efforts, including through the United Nations, to address the enduring security challenge posed by Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Signatories have also called for the UN fact finding mission to present its results as soon as possible, and for the Security Council to act accordingly.
We condemn in the strongest terms all human rights violations in Syria on all sides. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, more than 2 million people have become refugees, and approximately 5 million are internally displaced. Recognising that Syria's conflict has no military solution, we reaffirm our commitment to seek a peaceful political settlement through full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique. We are committed to a political solution which will result in a united, inclusive and democratic Syria.
We have contributed generously to the latest United Nations (UN) and ICRC appeals for humanitarian assistance and will continue to provide support to address the growing humanitarian needs in Syria and their impact on regional countries. We welcome the contributions announced at the meeting of donor countries on the margins of the G20. We call upon all parties to allow humanitarian actors safe and unhindered access to those in need.
European signatories will continue to engage in promoting a common European position."
H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said that the statement was in line with the statement of the League of Arab States, issued on 3rd September 2013, whose text was as follows: "Arab foreign ministers, at the conclusion of the meeting of the Council of the League of Arab States, condemn the heinous crime perpetrated by the use of the internationally-banned chemical weapons in a blatant challenge to and disregard for ethical and human values; place the full responsibility for this heinous crime on the Syrian regime; and call for all those involved in the atrocious crime to be brought to just international trials, as with other war criminals, providing all forms of required support to the Syrian people to defend themselves, and for joint Arab and international efforts to help them.
The Council calls on the United Nations and the international community to shoulder their responsibilities in accordance with the charter of the United Nations and the rules of international law, in order to take the needed deterrent measures against the perpetrators of this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible, and to put an end to the violations and the genocide being perpetrated by the Syrian regime for more than two years."
UAE happiest Arab country, 14th happiest globally
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has lauded the achievement of happiness for Emiratis which he described as an approach followed by the founding fathers of the UAE, a vision in all government sectors, levels and institutions as well as a manner of work that governs all of our policies and decisions.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was commenting on the results of the United Nation's second "World Happiness Report", which shows that the UAE tops the list of happiest Arab countries and ranks 14th globally.
"Achieving happiness, welfare and dignified living for nationals and their families is the preoccupation of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This [ranking] would not have been possible without the efforts of sincere men, excellent teamwork and full coordination and integration between all local and federal government sectors." "Our goal is to achieve the happiness of our people, and their satisfaction is the gauge of our success. All development plans that we approved, all initiatives that we launched, and all the government policies and laws, have one common goal: - achieving the happiness of our people. What we have already achieved is only the first stage, which will be followed by more work and achievements in order to become one of the world's best countries God willing.
"Countries can only be built with happy and satisfied people. Happiness of individuals is only the start for a stable, productive and safe society. That is why relevant international organisations started to review the real yardstick for the success of governments and to increasingly focus on measuring the satisfaction and happiness of people as a main way towards sustainable development," His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid added.
Underscoring the importance of embracing this yardstick by all government officials, he said, "We gave directives to all government teams, during the recent Government Summit, that they should make their decisions and policies based on one goal, which is making society happy. No doubt happiness and satisfaction is something psychological for individuals, but the government's mission is to provide dignified living and welfare for its citizens, to make life easy for them as well as to create opportunities for them to achieve happiness for themselves and for their families. All this requires, among other things, joint efforts and policies and laws that are suitable for society, achieving security, justice and safety, taking care of underprivileged groups and the continuous development of infrastructure. This cannot be achieved without having clear-cut plans and excellent teams and taking the best advantage of the resources that are available to us.
"We will continue forward to serve our country, achieve happiness for our sons and to invest all that we have to prepare people to make them able, strong, and skilled enough to achieve success. I say to all our people: be hopeful because we all overcame a lot of challenges in the past, and because our present is full of achievements, and our future is promising and is based on the highest ambitions" His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid concluded.