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Blinken's meeting with MBZ helped ease tensions, UAE ambassador says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Abu Dhabis Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (C) and his brother and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), at the former's residence in Rabat, on 29 March 2022. [JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Abu Dhabis Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (C) and his brother and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), at the former's residence in Rabat, on 29 March 2022. [JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

The recent meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) has eased tensions obstructing the two countries' relations, a senior Emirati official has confirmed.

According to the news site Axios, the UAE's ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba said that Blinken and bin Zayed's meeting in the Moroccan capital Rabat was "positive" and helped to "move the relationship between the UAE and the US back on the right track" after over a month of tensions.

The two-hour-long meeting on Tuesday covered a range of topics including Iran, Syria, the Abraham Accords, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and more importantly the missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on the UAE.

It was those attacks earlier this year which initially caused the tensions between the UAE and the US, as it took CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie 22 days to visit the country afterwards – in which he was not granted a meeting with MBZ. Abu Dhabi was also angered by the fact that Washington did not approve or act on its request to restore the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group.

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That dissatisfaction with the US in turn prompted the UAE to abstain from a UN Security Council vote on condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the meeting, Blinken assured MBZ that Washington remains committed to helping Abu Dhabi defend itself against threats coming from Yemen or elsewhere in the region.

Blinken also said that he intended to schedule a meeting with the Crown Prince earlier before his plans were forced to change, and that by the time he was free MBZ had taken off for a vacation in Morocco. The Secretary of State then followed him there and requested a meeting in the northern African kingdom, which reportedly proved the US's commitment to its relations with the UAE.

Following the meeting, the US then imposed sanctions on a number of prominent figures in Iran's ballistic missile program, particularly citing strikes by "Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."

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Asia & AmericasMiddle EastUAEUS
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