ABU DHABI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Developments in recent months show that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dropped its low- profile in the international political arena and claimed a bigger role in global affairs.
From Friday to Saturday, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan met with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, discussing various regional issues, including the Middle East peace process, the Palestinian issue, the Syrian crisis and the Iranian nuclear issue, UAE state-run news agency WAM reported Saturday.
The minister said the UAE supported a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue based on resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Security Council, as well as the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The wide range of issues which were discussed reflects the trend that the UAE aims to play a bigger role in the region than before.
On Sept. 22, at the 56th general session of the IAEA General Conference, the UAE called for establishing a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. It called upon all countries in the region to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which demands to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
The UAE's call was judged as a clear diplomatic blow to Israel, which is the only Middle Eastern state that has not signed the NPT.
Behind the UAE's move to become more audible on the global political parquet is the Gulf state's growing ties to the international community.
While Abu Dhabi remains a strong ally of Washington, the UAE has in recent years reached out to the new powers in the Eastern hemisphere such as China, South Korea and India. Trade relations between the UAE and the aforementioned countries increased in multiple aspects. UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has paid landmark visits to Beijing, Seoul and other Eastern capitals in recent years.
In addition, the UAE successfully bid for the seat of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). On June 30, 2009, the body's 136 member states voted for the UAE capital Abu Dhabi to host the IRENA headquarters, a decision that demonstrated the UAE is no longer regarded by the international community as just an oil supplier, as some 7 percent of the world's known oil reserves are located under the sands and seas of the Gulf state, according to local observers.
The UAE has also shown diplomatic aptitude in handling affairs in the Middle East after the unrest. While Abu Dhabi strictly opposes any influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which won the presidential elections in Egypt in June, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa invited Egypt's new President Mohamed Morsi to visit the UAE recently.