WASHINGTON, 5th July, 2016 (WAM)– 5th July, 2016 (WAM)–Following a meeting earlier today with Susan Ziadeh, US Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Peninsula Affairs, Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, issued the following statement: “On behalf of the UAE, I conveyed deep dismay and concern to the US Government over the mistreatment of Ahmed Al Menhali, a UAE national. Last week, local police in Avon, Ohio acted inappropriately and with excessive force that was totally unwarranted.

The regrettable situation should have never happened, and I spoke directly to Mayor Jensen of Avon on Saturday to receive his personal apology. During my conversation with the Mayor, I also recognized his and the Chief of Police’s swift commitment to ensure this type of incident is not repeated.

In the context of the greater violence across the world over the last week, the incident in Avon may seem unimportant in comparison. But tolerance and understanding should never be a victim of bias and bigotry anywhere, particularly between Emiratis and Americans.

The UAE and US are the closest of allies – joined together by our common interests and shared values. In the fight against extremism, UAE soldiers fought alongside US forces against the Taliban for more than 12 years. We flew with the US Air Force in the very first mission against ISIS in Syria. And today, UAE special forces are on the ground in Yemen leading in the campaign against Al Qaeda.

In the UAE, we are also strong believers and advocates of religious diversity and tolerance, guided by the true tenets of Islam: respect, inclusion and peace. In this spirit, we welcome hundreds of thousands of Americans to live and work in the UAE. The hundreds of thousands of Emiratis who live in or visit the US each year for business, medical care, education or tourism should also expect to be treated the same, and not singled out because of their beliefs, attire or language.”