8 October, 2014, 12:00 am
US Vice-President Joe Biden has apologised to the United Arab Emirates after suggesting it had fuelled the rise of extremist groups in Syria.
The White House confirmed the call to the UAE, a day after Mr Biden offered a similar apology to Turkey. The authorities in the UAE had earlier condemned his remarks to students at Harvard University last week.
The UAE is among several Arab states that have joined the US-led alliance against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
The coalition has been bombing the extremist Islamic State (IS) group, which controls a broad swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria, in recent weeks.
Mr Biden told the students, the UAE and Saudi Arabia had extended “billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tonnes of weapons” to Sunni fighters battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
He called the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Sunday to offer his apologies, following a request from the UAE authorities for “a formal clarification” of the comments.
His remarks were “amazing and ignore the role of the Emirates in the fight against extremism and terrorism,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammad Gargash said.