Remarks With United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan After Their Tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
November 23, 2015


FOREIGN MINISTER BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN: It’s a great honor for myself to have Secretary of State of the United States, my friend, John Kerry, to the UAE, and it was wonderful to join him on a tour in Sheikh Zayed Mosque. But this morning we had a very fruitful meeting with Sheikh Mohammed, and we very much rely on the Secretary’s friendship and the strong relationship between the UAE and the United States. So welcome.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. First of all, let me just – I want to thank Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed for a very warm welcome here today. I want to thank them for the privilege of visiting this remarkable mosque, the bin Zayed Mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is one of the great mosques of the world, and for my money one of the truly most beautiful mosques that I’ve had the privilege of visiting. It’s an extraordinary architecture and a great tribute to Islam and to this country. And I congratulate them on this remarkable accomplishment, built in nine years starting in 1995, and it really is quite amazing.

I’m very grateful to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for his welcome today and for the time we spent on some very serious conversations about the situation throughout the Middle East. We respect what United Arab Emirates has been able to do to be able to accomplish significant progress in Yemen. We understand completely and support the reasons that Saudi Arabia and the UAE felt compelled to take acts of self-defense and to protect the security of this region. And I know that the UAE has made sacrifices in that effort. We understand those sacrifices in the United States, and we respect what has been achieved, and we respect the values that the UAE is standing up for.

We also talked very seriously today about Libya, and we are committed to taking steps in the next weeks, months to try to address that situation. And I thank the UAE for their commitment to trying to make sure that radical religious extremism is pushed back in favor of a broad-based, tolerant, secular governance which allows the people of Libya to be able to choose their future – not at the barrel of a gun, but through a peaceful process.

And finally, we obviously talked very seriously about Syria. We are deeply committed to trying to achieve a ceasefire and a political process. We want the violence to stop, and there again we want a secular Syria in which the people of Syria choose their future.

So we agreed today on a number of things that we will work on specifically to try to accelerate the defeat of Daesh and to bring about the peace and stability that the region wants.

So again, a profound thank you to my friend and my colleague Sheikh Abdullah, who works very closely on all of these issues. We’re very, very grateful for the support of the UAE and all of its leadership. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN: We are honored. Thank you.