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Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate to discuss US foreign policy under Trump administration

ABU DHABI // More than 400 prominent international and regional decision-makers, politicians, and academics are set to converge on the Third Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, ADSD, on November 13-14 at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

The event is being organised by the Emirates Policy Centre (EPC), in co-operation with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Atlantic Council.

The timing of the 2016 ADSD is crucial, as it falls within the week following the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States. The conference panels will cover extensively the complex political and security issues in the region and the world in light of the new administration’s potential shifts in foreign policy.

In this respect, Dr Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President of EPC, said: “The fear of sharp shifts in Washington’s foreign policy arises with every American presidential election and especially in the Arab world. Historical and strategic ties between countries in the region and the superpower as well as the US’ political and military roles cannot be circumvented when dealing with conflict zones scattered across the Middle East, especially those emerging during the past few years.

“There are challenges of high priority on the new administration’s political agenda, ranging from Barack Obama’s latest approaches to foreign policy, to opening political channels with political Islamic groups, and establishing military co-operation on the ground with extremist blocks labelled as terror organisations in the United States, as well as the signing of a controversial ‘reconciliation’ deal with Iran, and the US’ diminishing roles in Syria, Libya and Iraq,” Dr Al-Ketbi added.

“The 2016 ADSD aims at “conveying insights on decisive questions ranging from whether the new American administration under Trump will revise its strategic interests in the Middle East to reshape its regional partnerships, to chances of witnessing more solid and long-term guarantees by the US concerning the future of Washington’s relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” she said.

The Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate 2016 will also monitor the US foreign policy in the region in light of growing Russian and Iranian interventions.

“ADSD is keen to focus on possible upcoming scenarios dominating the relationship between Washington and Moscow through the perspective of political experts and strategists. The era of a new Cold War has been discussed by several international think tanks and this poses a risk of further spilling over to the Middle East map, with Syria being one example,” Dr Al-Ketbi said.

The ADSD has gained a reputation as a prestigious platform at the international level to discuss policy and strategy, geopolitical shifts, regional and global political ends, national security issues in the Arab world, as well as threats posed by an unprecedented pattern of terrorist and extremist groups. The objective of the conference is to provide a clear vision of future trends of the international system, and to address these challenges in their various forms, reported Wam, the state news agency.

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