Ties between UAE, US going through 'a stress test,' says ambassador

·2 min read

The United Arab Emirates's (UAE) ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, said Thursday that ties between the two countries are currently going through a "stress test," according to Reuters.

He added, however, that he was confident the two would "get out of it." The UAE is an ally of the U.S., with the countries coordinating closely on security, intelligence and trade issues.

"It is like any relationship. It has strong days where the relationship is very healthy and days where the relationship is under question. Today, we're going through a stress test but I am confident that we will get out of it and get to a better place," Otaiba said, according to the newswire.

The UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

The Gulf nation has flip-flopped on condemning Russia on its invasion of Ukraine, first choosing to abstain on a U.S.-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution last week.

UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash said on Sunday his government "believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence."

In a statement explaining the vote, the UAE said on Monday, "The developments in Ukraine undermine regional and international peace and security."

"The UAE reiterates that the protection of civilians in Ukraine is of the utmost importance, particularly as the security situation escalates. We reiterate once again the absolute need to uphold the principles of the UN Charter, in particular respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all Member States," the UAE's Explanation of Vote said.

However, just two days later, the UAE joined 140 other countries to vote in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution demanding Russia halt its invasion.

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly reviewed "a number of regional and international developments and issues of common interest" in a phone conversation one day before Russia launched an invasion into Ukraine.