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Saturday 19 October 2019

'Princess Haya is my one UAE friend' - Robinson

Mary Robinson. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Mary Robinson. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Anne-Marie Walsh

Former President Mary Robinson has said she is still friends with a princess who fled the United Arab Emirates for political asylum in Europe.

But when asked if she had other friends among the country's leadership she said Princess Haya bint Hussein was her one friend.

Princess Haya, wife of the ruler of Dubai, has sought political asylum in Europe.

Ms Robinson has been criticised for her intervention after Princess Haya's step-daughter Princess Latifa made an alleged attempt to escape from her family but was recaptured off the coast of India last year.

Human rights organisations criticised her visit to Dubai to meet Princess Latifa, whom Ms Robinson described as a troubled young woman. Her judgment was called into question again after her stepmother fled the country.

"I really have nothing more to say about that," she said, when asked about her relationship with the UAE leadership. "I have never been friends except with Princess Haya. One friend, who is still my friend."

She added it was a private matter when asked if she was in touch with Princess Haya.

Ms Robinson was speaking after arriving at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions biennial conference in Dublin.

She spoke about climate change and her decision to become a pescatarian, raising a laugh when she said she has "withdrawal pains" from west of Ireland lamb after making the decision to give up meat to help reduce carbon emissions.

Irish Independent

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