[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[May 12, 1998]
[Pages 742-743]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Joint Statement on United States-United Arab Emirates Relations
May 12, 1998

    At the invitation of President Clinton, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa 
bin Zayid Al Nahyan, Crown 
Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed 
Forces, is visiting Washington, where he met with the President in the 
Oval Office today. Crown Prince Shaikh Khalifa conveyed the greetings of 
H. H. President Shaikh Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the people of the UAE to President Clinton and 
the American people. The Crown Prince then met separately with Vice 
President Gore, who hosted a working lunch. 
He is due to meet later with key Cabinet members and Congressional 
    The relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United 
States of America is defined by strong bilateral ties. Today, this 
relationship has expanded greatly to include mutually productive 
cooperation in the fields of commerce, educational exchange, and 
security. The present close ties have become instrumental in 
safeguarding the security and stability of the Gulf region.
    Over the past decades, the two sides have forged substantial 
economic links as a result of numerous initiatives by government and 
private sectors on both sides. Thousands of Americans live and work in 
the United Arab Emirates; thousands of UAE nationals study in the United 
States, and thousands more visit here each year. The UAE has become the 
United States' second-largest market in the Gulf region. Growing numbers 
of American firms are doing business and are based in the UAE because of 
its excellent infrastructure and welcoming environment.
    While the regional environment has spawned a number of new threats 
in the last three decades, the strategic consultations between the UAE 
and the United States remain a key factor in securing the national 
interests of both countries. The signing of the 1994 Defense Cooperation 
Agreement is indicative of the strength of the relationship between the 
two sides.
    Both sides agreed to encourage trade, investment, economic, and 
cultural cooperation and in this context, agreed on the desirability of 
reaching mutual agreements to cover these topics.
    The two sides discussed recent developments in Iran. They shared the 
hope that the new Iranian leadership would change those policies that 
threaten the peace and stability of the region; at the same time, they 
agreed that the new Iranian Government has yet to prove it has abandoned 
its threatening policies. An important issue that remains unresolved is 
the continued occupation by Iran of three islands, Abu Musa and Greater 
and Lesser Tunb. The UAE and the United States continue to reiterate 
their call for the peaceful resolution of the issue either through 
bilateral talks or through the International Court of Justice.
    Both governments expressed great sympathy for the Iraqi people and 
call upon Iraq to comply fully with all relevant United Nations Security 
Council Resolutions. The two sides agreed that UN Security Council 
Resolutions must be enforced. They also made it clear that the Iraqi 
Government bears full responsibility for the misery of the Iraqi people.

[[Page 743]]

    Both sides affirmed that there is an urgent need to achieve genuine 
progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process in order to reach a lasting, 
comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East. Such a comprehensive 
peace should be based upon UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 
and the land-for-peace principle in addition to the fulfillment by both 
sides of their obligations under the Oslo Accords. The UAE side 
expressed its concern about the Israeli Government's policy toward the 
peace process and the rights of the Palestinian people. The two sides 
also agreed on the importance of achieving progress on the Syrian and 
Lebanese tracks.
    Today, Crown Prince Khalifa 
and Vice President Gore announced the UAE's 
acquisition of 80 F-16 Block 60 fighters from the United States as a 
significant step towards strengthening the UAE's defense capabilities. 
In essence, the deal will enable the UAE to achieve a credible and 
effective defense through the establishment of a conventional deterrent 
capability based on quality. This acquisition will allow the two 
countries not only to add a significant stabilizing element to the 
overall strategic balance in the region but also to further strengthen 
and fortify the already close security relations between the two 
    President Clinton conveyed his sincere greetings to the President of 
the UAE, His Highness Shaikh Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan, wishing him good health and long life.

Note: An original was not available for verification of the content of 
this joint statement.