• Short Summary

    A meeting of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates has failed to select a new President for the seven-member union.

  • Description

    SV: Council President Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahyan, seated at table PAN TO: Council members. (3 shots)

    SCU: Council Secretary General Mr. Abdel Aziz Ben Humaid El Kasimi, reading statement in Arabic.

    Initials RH/PK/JB/1905

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A meeting of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates has failed to select a new President for the seven-member union. At a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (6 November), the council deferred a decision until 27th November. The next president's term is due to start on the second of December.

    SYNOPSIS: Outgoing Council President, Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahyan is the centre of the dispute. The council was expected to ask Sheikh Zayed to stay on for a second five-year term when it met last month. However, the Sheikh declared he wanted to stand down because of his fellow rulers' lack of commitment to the U.A.E. Federation.

    Reuters reported that Saturday's failure to re-elect Sheikh Zayed suggested he was still dissatisfied. Nevertheless, the latest meeting did go some way towards meeting Sheikh Zayed's conditions with agreement to strengthen federal control over internal security and withdraw the Emirates' constitutional right over their armed forces.

    A statement by Council Secretary General, Abdel Aziz Ben Humaid El Kasimi, confirmed a majority of council members were still opposed to more far reaching reforms. The Secretary General said that the federal government could not assume complete control over the armed forces of the member states of the federation. And the council was told that further discussions on internal border questions were postponed -- pending further talks to try and reach a final settlement of this outstanding question.

    But Mr. Kasimi did say that the Council had empowered the President with complete authority over security matters especially those relating to immigration. Its also agreed to set up a centralized security bureau to be directly connected to the President. The statement said that the Council had also decided to put all radio and television stations under the direct supervision of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

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