|Idex 2001 Open for All Except Israel Says GEC Director |
Idex 2001 Open for All Except Israel Says GEC Director
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates -- March 17, 2001 (GEC) -- The International defence exhibition IDEX 2001 opening in Abu Dhabi tomorrow is open for all except Israel despite requests by some Israeli companies to participate, the Director General of the General Exhibition Corporation (GEC) said today.
Sultan Al Suwaidi said the GEC had received faxed letters from several Israeli arms firms requesting participation in one of the biggest arms shows in the World.
"We have received faxes from several Israeli companies but we have not given attention to them," he told a pre-IDEX press conference.
"IDEX is open to all countries, but Israel is not taking part because we have no relations with this country. Also there is no room here for nuclear and chemical weapons or any weapons of mass destruction" he added.
Suwaiti said around 860 companies from 42 countries will be participating in IDEX 2001 while 65 invitations have been sent out to defence ministers and other top military personnalities from around the world to attend the show.
He said the area of the exhibition has increased by 25 percent over the previous show while 28 countries are represented by national stands.
"The expansion and such a large number of participants are evidence that IDEX enjoys growing significance and a prominent international status," he said.
Suwaidi said the five-day exhibition, to be inaugurated by Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy supreme Commander of the armed forces, His Highness sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, would include a two-day defence conference entitled "the Gulf Defence Conference" which replaces the previous MILCOM Conference held at earlier IDEX events.
The main theme of this conference will focus on such subjects as potential threats to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, weapons of mass destruction, the military capabilities of Iran and Iraq and their impact on the GCC role in protecting their countries.
Suwaidi dismissed suggestions that the UAE is promoting deadly weapons by staging the show, saying: "the UAE looks at this exhibitions an international event that puts it on the World map and reflects its ability to stage an event of this magnitude."
He added: " We are a peaceful country, which has s advocated peace. We are not promoting deadly weapons, because weapons are for self-defence and it is the right of every country to buy weapons. If it is not from IDEX, they could buy weapons from sere else. We are by no means organizing this exhibition to support war or any offensive action."
Asked about possible arms deals during IDEX 2001, the fifth defence show in Abu Dhabi, he said the GEC, as an organizer of the exhibition is not involved in such deals.
He noted that it is up to the parties concerned to announce any weapons transactions but added that IDEX, like other military shows, could see international arms deals.
Responding to a question, he said only three Arab countries - the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and Jordan - are participating in IDEX 2001 although invitations have been sent to all Gulf and Arab states to take part. Egypt, which was present at all previous shows, is not attending this exhibition for international reasons, he added.
Suwaidi declined to provide figures on expending in the region, but military analysts said more than 50 billion dollars would be allocated for defence and security by the GCC nations in the coming 10 years as they are pressing ahead with the plans they launched after the 1990-1991 Gulf war to reinforce their military capabilities.
They estimated the GCC states have spent more than 60 billion dollars on arms since the end of the Gulf conflict. The purchases covered mainly tanks, jetfighters, missiles and other sophisticated weapons.
The main arms deals in the region include the seven billion dollar package signed between the UAE and the United States two years ago to buy around 80 F-16 fighters while another four billion dollar deal involved the purchase bu the UAE of 436 Leclerc tanks from France, some of which have been delivered.