After the first high-level consultations of the
Middle East "quartet" since President George W. Bush reversed
policy on June 24, the United States stood isolated on crucial issues.
The meeting was presided over by US Secretary of
State Colin Powell.
The envoys of the European Union, Russia, the United
Nations, Egypt and Jordan disagreed publicly with US Secretary of State
Colin Powell on relations with Arafat and on whether Palestinians alone
can end Middle East violence.
However, after more than two hours of talks on the
situation in the Middle East, the members of the diplomatic
"quartet" — the United Nations, United States, Russian
Federation and European Union said they were committed to backing reform
efforts initiated by Palestinian Authority and called on Israel to take
concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable Palestinian State.
In a communique read to the press after the meeting
in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the quartet
strongly supported the goal of a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement,
as expressed in a statement last month by US President George W. Bush,
and agreed that with an intensive effort on security and reform by all,
this could be reached within three years.
"We remain committed to implementing the vision
of two States, Israel and an independent, viable and democratic
Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," Mr Annan
UAE BOP REMAINS IN SURPLUS
The UAE recorded another year of surplus in its
balance of payments in 2001 despite a sharp decline in oil export
revenues and an increase in imports and remittances by its expatriate
community, official figures showed.
A decline of nearly $4 in oil prices last year
sharply upset its BoP, current account and trade balance but they all
remained in a surplus thanks to a growth in industrial exports, high gas
sales and large returns from overseas investments.
Central Bank figures showed the BoP, the country's
external financial balance, recorded a surplus of around Dh1.78 billion
($485 million) in 2001 compared with a mammoth surplus of Dh10.41
billion ($2.83 billion) in 2000.
The current account surplus stood at Dh 32.54 billion
($18.86 billion) in 2001 compared with Dh50.5 billion ($13.7 billion) in
2000 while the trade balance recorded a surplus of Dh38.1 billion
($10.38 billion) against Dh54.4 billion ($14.8 billion) in the same
Total exports declined to around Dh171.2 billion
($46.6 billion) from Dh183 billion ($49.8) billion mainly because of a
drop in crude oil sales to nearly Dh 66.1 billion ($18 billion) in 2001
from around Dh79.4 billion ($21.6 billion) in 2000.
But natural gas and LNG exports fell slightly to
around Dh12.6 billion ($3.4 billion) from nearly Dh13.9 billion ($3.7
billion) while non-oil exports, mostly manufacturing products, grew to
around Dh42.7 billion ($11.6 billion) from Dh 41.4 billion ($11.2
The figures showed remittances by the UAE's large
foreign community is still putting heavy pressure on the BoP as they
peaked at around Dh14.3 billion ($3.89 billion) in 2001 compared with
nearly Dh13.5 billion ($3.67 billion) in 2000.
NATIONALS ACCOUNT FOR ONLY 9PC OF PRIVATE SECTOR
UAE nationals account for only 9 per cent of the
total workforce in Dubai's private sector, according to a government
Asians make up 80.56 per cent and Arab expatriates
total 7.61 per cent while Europeans make up 2.01 per cent. The report
excluded government departments and international organisations.
About 437,248 people are working in 37,775
organisations across the emirate, including 400,764 males and 36,484
females. Total number of Asians working in these establishments are
381,500, including 355,240 males and 26,260 females.
The number of Arab expatriates totals 36,027,
including 31,207 males and 4,820 females while European workforce in the
emirate accounts for 9,527, including 6,500 males and 3,027 females.
POPULATION OF UAE CLIMBS 7.4PC IN 2001
The UAE's population surged by nearly 7.4 per cent in
2001 as more foreign workers streamed in and the government pushed ahead
with a policy to encourage UAE nationals to have more children,
according to official estimates.
From around 3.24 million at the end of 2000, the
country's population totalled nearly 3.48 million at the end of 2001,
showed the figures by the Planning Ministry.
Males accounted for 67.6 per cent of the total
population in 2001 while the under-15 age group numbered 892,000 and the
15-40-year age group nearly 1.9 million.
Growth in the first group stood at 6.8 per cent and
in the second group at 7.6 per cent, while people between 40 and 60
years grew by 7.7 per cent to 638,000 in 2001.
US TALKS GIVE ARAB MINISTERS HOPE
Foreign ministers from three Arab states have said
they are encouraged by US peace proposals for the Middle East after
talks with President George W Bush in Washington.
The talks focused on Mr Bush's call for the reform of
Palestinian institutions — as well as a new security plan to
restructure the Palestinian security forces.
Ahead of the talks with the foreign ministers of
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Mr Bush said he refused to be
discouraged by Palestinian suicide attacks on Israel, which he said were
aimed at derailing the Middle East peace process.
KHAMENEI SAYS BUSH GIVEN A SLAP BY IRAN UNITY
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the
country's normally feuding political factions had given Washington a
"slap in the mouth" by uniting against U.S.
Reformist President Mohammed Khatami this week joined
enraged conservatives by condemning a statement by U.S. President George
W. Bush expressing solidarity with pro-reform youths who clashed with
security forces near Tehran University.
"Khatami took a position against Bush and
slapped him in the mouth," Khamenei, the most powerful figure in
Iran, told worshippers who answered with chants of "Death to
"Different factions, although they have
disputes, told the Americans to mind their own business and told them
not to interfere in Iran's internal affairs," Khamenei said.
SRAELI AIRCRAFT STRIKE GAZA STRIP
The Israeli air force on Sunday destroyed two
buildings in the Gaza Strip, including one said to have been the home of
a slain militant, while Israel went on high alert over fresh warnings of
A witness said two US-made Apache helicopters fired
one rocket apiece at a building in Khan Yunis used by Palestinian
police, who had evacuated the area before the strike. The same witness
said an F-16 warplane fired a rocket at another house nearby, destroying
the three-story building. Hospital officials said five people were
injured in the air raid, all of them civilians.
TWO GOVERNMENT ENTITIES CONSIDER BOND ISSUE
Some local government entities are contemplating a
bond issue for project financing on assurances from top local banks of
underwriting them — should investor response be poor, say top banking
At least two government-backed entities in Abu Dhabi,
in the energy and power sector, are likely to issue bonds late this year
or early next year. Negotiations are currently soon with banks.
NBD, HSBC LEAD SECTOR IN ASSETS
HSBC Bank M.E. came out on top in overall assets
among foreign banks operating in the UAE, while among local banks the
honour went to National Bank of Dubai.
HSBC's total assets grew to more than Dh16 billion,
and was followed by Standard Chartered Bank with over Dh12 billion, and
Citibank with over Dh8 billion, according to a survey on the banking
sector's performance in 2001 by KPMG, the international accounting firm.
Among local banks, National Bank of Dubai (NBD)
pipped National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) as both reported assets over
Dh30 billion. NBD's final tally was Dh32.66 billion against NBAD's
Jordan flag carrier Royal Jordanian has embarked on a
major fleet modernisation to raise its competitive edge with global
carriers and add value for a future strategic partner, the company's
chief executive officer said.
The recently launched Dubai International Financial
Centre (DIFC) poses a challenge to Bahrain's financial services sector,
notably the offshore banking units (OBUs) activity. To be sure, as of
date, Bahrain serves as the main financial hub in the Gulf.
SAUDIS PLAN THIRD SATELLITE LAUNCH
Saudi Arabia plans to launch its third satellite
later this year to obtain vital data on weather conditions and oil
exploration, besides monitoring the movement of vehicles in the remote
regions of the kingdom, sources said.
The satellite will be put in orbit from a Russian
launching station. It will not only help in locating missing vehicles
but also in controlling traffic movement across the mountainous border
areas of the country with its huge uninhabited deserts, scientists said.
UAE, JORDAN OPPOSED TO ANY ATTACK ON IRAQ
The UAE and Jordan reiterated their commitment to the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its
capital and in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.
At a meeting held at Al Bateen Palace, King Abdullah
II of Jordan and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu
Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,
reaffirmed their support for the inalienable right of the Palestinian
people to set up their own state, not only as provided for by the
relevant international resolutions but also in line with the principle
of land for peace.
NATIONALS SHOW INTEREST IN TOURISM
The first batch of 50 young female UAE nationals who
completed a Career Development Summer Programme in the tourism and
hospitality industry, shows a shift in the perception about gender
In a presentation of their group work held at the
Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Jumeirah, the young women
exhibited their projects which capped a month-long tourism crash course
using the latest communications technology.
UAE BOOSTS SPENDING BY $2B TO STIMULATE ECONOMY
The UAE boosted spending by more than $2 billion in
2001 despite lower revenues in a bid to stimulate the domestic economy
and meet its internal and external financial commitments, official
The consolidated financial account, which comprises
federal spending and the local budget of each emirate, increased to
around Dh93.7 billion in 2001 from nearly Dh84.06 billion in 2000, the
Central Bank said in its 2001 bulletin.
Revenues receded to around Dh67.9 billion from Dh74.3
billion mainly because of a decline in crude prices.
The decline sharply widened the budget deficit to
nearly Dh25.7 billion from around Dh9.6 billion in the same period.
SCORNS THREATS TO IRAQ
Even devils cannot help aggressors Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein has said that "evil tyrants and oppressors"
will not be able to unseat him and his government.
"You will never defeat me this time.
Never!" said Saddam Hussein, speaking in a televised address.
The US has branded Iraq part of an "axis of
evil" supporting terrorism, and President George W Bush has vowed
to pursue the Iraqi leader's removal.
UN CALLS FOR NEW MID-EAST STRATEGY
The United Nations co-ordinator for the Middle East
peace process has said that without the firm involvement of the
international community there is little or no prospect for peace between
Israel and the Palestinians.
Terje Roed Larsen was speaking at the seminar on the
Middle East in Copenhagen, echoing a general tone of pessimism at the
An opening address from the United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan said that in many ways the situation in the Middle
East now is worse than it has been at any time since 1967.