UAE official says European relations with Gulf ‘should not be transactional’


A senior UAE official announced on Saturday it was hopeful to see greater European outreach to Gulf Arab countries in the face of the Ukraine war and energy crisis, but that engagement should not be “transactional.”

A number of European officials went to Gulf countries to secure energy deliveries outside of former top provider Russia when the West forced penalties on Moscow over its attack on Ukraine.

“What we’re hearing, especially from the Germans and others, about reengaging with the Gulf, I am encouraged but I would warn that it should not be transactional,” Anwar Gargash, the diplomatic consultant to the president of the UAE, updated the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi. “I think that language is partly driven by self-interest — trying to find new gas providers, new oil providers,” he said.

“We need to see actions … it has to be long term and strategic.”

Gargash repeated a call for “explicit” security pledges from traditional Western partners, mainly in coping with the threat from Iranian drones that Gulf states have long warned about.

It was not until these arms “made it into the Ukraine theater” that they were “catapulted” into the spotlight, and “suddenly the world rediscovered this issue,” Gargash added.


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