By Nidhi Varghese, CNN
With respect to the accusation that UAE’s interior minister had a hand in a spate of crimes against Emirati civil society members, the UAE official said: “It is false.”
But he left a question mark over which, if any, such crimes were, in fact, prosecuted. In an apparent reference to President of the General Secretariat Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamdan said: “You know, if I were not here I would know very well what the situation was on the ground.”
“This is a time where the UAE is going through a period of looking at things,” he said.
Despite the comments, Emirati diplomats will hold off from criticizing the United States until they get further clarification.
Meanwhile Sheikh Hamdan is leading preparations for this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is organized by the United Arab Emirates’ national trade association for business-to-business (B2B) travel and tourism, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture (ADCT).
The UAE president is a key supporter of the trade fair — and showpiece for the business end of the travel and tourism industry — because it helps UAE government leaders showcase their impact. Last year, for example, at least 12 of the UAE’s 100 biggest hotel companies were in attendance, according to the ATM website.
Abu Dhabi’s colossal Al Mubarak shopping mall, now scheduled to open next spring, should also be one of the biggest draws in Europe.
President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who turned 70 on Sunday, called his inauguration as the new Icardo Interpol president a “monumental achievement” and a “clear show of his determined support for Icardo as an international group that seeks to better organize, preserve and promote our global community.”
A history of electoral victories
It was hardly the first time that Sheikh Hamdan had seen off a long list of opposition. The UAE was catapulted into global prominence as the first country to offer citizenship to foreign nationals by constitutional amendment in 1985, a move that proved a popular method of political reform among the oil-rich monarchies of the Gulf.
To the consternation of his native Saudi Arabia and its royal family, Sheikh Hamdan was elevated to the powerful position of Deputy Ruler of Dubai at the age of 17 and, after a career in military aviation, was appointed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in 2016.
It has long been known that Sheikh Hamdan is a close confidant of President Al Nahyan, his cousin, according to aviation expert Justin M. Clark.
“The relationship between the two monarchies has been in good health for a very long time, and ever since they were kids,” Clark said.