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UAE 'ready to send ground troops to fight Islamic State'

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it is ready to send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to fight against the so-called Islamic State group.

UAE Foreign Affairs minister says the country would send ground troops to fight the so-called Islamic State group. Credit: Reuters

Foreign Affairs minister Anwar Gargash told reporters: "Our position throughout has been that a real campaign against Daesh has to include a ground force."

"We are not talking about thousands of troops," he added but said US leadership would be a prerequisite for the UAE.

Last week Saudi Arabia said it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the US-led coalition decided to take such action.


Brit jailed for 9 years for carrying drugs worth £3 in UAE

A British student, who claims he was tortured by police after being arrested in the United Arab Emirates, has been jailed for nine years for possessing cocaine worth £3.

Ahmad Zeidan, 20, from Berkshire, claims he was tortured into signing a confession after being arrested in December.

Ahmad Zeidan, 20, claims he was tortured into signing a confession Credit: Reprieve

"I was made to sign documents in Arabic, a language which I cannot not read nor write. I now understand that I am being charged with possession of a narcotic substance with the intention to traffic," Mr Zeidan said in a statement.

Kate Higham, an investigator with the legal charity Reprieve, described the conviction at a hearing in Dubai as "the result of a shockingly flawed trial process.""The UAE must urgently reconsider Ahmad's case, while the British government must do all it can to push for his release," she said.

Mr Zeidan claims he was held incommunicado for several days when he was hooded, beaten, and threatened with rape.

The drugs - 0.04g of cocaine with a British street value of about £3 - were found in a bag in a glove compartment.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware that a British National has received a custodial sentence in the United Arab Emirates. We are providing consular assistance."

UAE president to begin visit under cloud of controversy

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomes the Queen on a visit to Abu Dhabi in November 2010 Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will formally greet the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as he begins a two-day state visit today.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit comes at a fragile diplomatic moment after three British men, who allege they were tortured by police, were sentenced by a court in Dubai on Monday.

The president will join the royal couple for a state carriage procession to Windsor Castle before reviewing a Guard of Honour with the Duke. The Queen will also host a lunch in his honour.


Amnesty International concerned by arms sales to Gulf countries

The human rights charity Amnesty International has raised concerns about the sale of British weapons to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia:

Selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE should only be considered if there are absolutely watertight guarantees over them not being used to commit human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia has been the recipient of record-breaking arms deals involving the UK, yet these have been highly secretive and there’s been little or no follow-up over how the weaponry was used ...

In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record.

It’s time for David Cameron to end this deeply disturbing trade-off.

– Allan Hogarth, Head of Policy and Government Affairs, Amnesty International UK
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