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UAE envoy to India slams Qatar's role in Afghan peace talks


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Days after the US and the Taliban held talks in Doha, the UAE on Tuesday slammed Qatar's role in the region and accused it of "hosting" and "exporting" terrorists.
UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Al Banna, at a press conference, said his country wants to see peace in the region and would help in the process of eliminating terror groups or reaching a solution on issues that will ease tensions.
The envoy also announced that his country will mark 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.
This year will be aimed at highlighting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a global capital for tolerance and its approach to be a bridge of communication between peoples of different cultures in a respectful environment that rejects extremism and emphasises on the acceptance of the other, he said.
Asked about the US' talks with the Taliban in Qatar, he said that on January 9 the Taliban had a meeting with the US in Qatar, but rejected the participation of certain Afghani officials.
In October last year, Taliban delegation was in Doha and it comprised of those released from Guantanamo Bay, Al Banna claimed.
"That shows how the Qataris are hosting terrorists and exporting terrorists from within their country," he alleged.
He said the UAE wants peace for the region and was willing to do its utmost for it.
"Qatar supports terrorism and continues to interfere in the internal affairs of different countries. Qatar's policies are a threat to not only the Middle East countries, but to many other states," he said.
The UAE had also hosted a round of US-Taliban talks in December.
Talking about the 'Year of Tolerance' being marked by the UAE, he said it will focus on pillars such as deepening of the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures by teaching the youth and to solidify the UAE as the global capital for tolerance through a series of initiatives.
It aims to implement multiple cultural programmes and make contributions to build tolerant communities, focus on legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute to mandating cultural and religious tolerance via dialogue, and to promote tolerance through targeted media initiatives and projects, he said.
Al Banna highlighted that his country also has designated the post of Minister of State for Tolerance, which was introduced in 2016 when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced structural changes to the 12th Cabinet.
He said laws are in place that are intended to provide a solid legislative ground for the environment of tolerance, co-existence and acceptance.
In this context, the UAE envoy also talked about initiatives such as 'Hedayah' which is aimed at countering violent extremism in Abu Dhabi and the 'Sawab Center', co-founded with the US, that seeks to give a platform for online engagement in support of the global coalition against extremism.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 6:40 PM IST

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