UAE minister blasts reports for distorting remarks on Dubai debts

11:05, December 22, 2009      

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United Arab Emirates (UAE) Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said Monday that earlier reports citing him as saying that debt-laden Dubai may need more financial aids misrepresented his remarks.

There was a media campaign aimed at twisting the fact of the UAE economy and confusing the public, Al Mansouri was quoted by the official news agency WAM as saying.

"I'm confident this campaign will not impact the reputation of the UAE and our national economy has proven its strength and ability to deal with global challenges. The UAE has already taken concerted efforts to meet the challenges arising from the global financial crisis," the minister said.

He noted that practical steps included guaranteeing bank deposits for three years and injecting liquidity into the banking system, saying 120 billion dirhams (about 32 billion U.S. dollars)had been earmarked by the UAE Central Bank and the Finance Ministry.

According to Al Mansouri, specialized government departments are in charge of the management of debts concerning Dubai.

Reports earlier in the day cited Al Mansouri as saying that Dubai, which faces more debt maturities in 2010, may receive more aid from either the UAE federal government or wealthy fellow emirate Abu Dhabi.

Some media exaggerated the UAE's economic woes, he was quoted by WAM as saying, adding that if there is any criticism towards the country, it should be objective and in the right place.

"We accept any kind of criticism but that must be based on facts and reality and not illusions and speculation," the minister said.

The government of Dubai, a member of the oil-rich federation UAE, announced on Nov. 25 that it would ask the state-owned conglomerate Dubai World's creditors to agree to a debt moratorium of at least six months as a first step towards restructuring.

On Dec. 1, Dubai World confirmed that its debt restructuring process related to a total debt of 26 billion dollars, of which a 4.1-billion-dollar sukuk, or Islamic bond, owed by its property subsidiary Nakheel was due on Dec. 14.

Nakheel, the real estate developer which built the famous Palm Jumeirah island near Dubai's coast, said it would pay back the sukuk within two weeks on Dec. 14, hours after Abu Dhabi injected a 10-billion-dollar bond in order to save Dubai World from immediate default.

Source: Xinhua
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