News Irish News

Saturday 24 August 2019

'She's still my friend' - Mary Robinson says she 'respects privacy' of wife of Dubai sheikh who has fled to Germany

Controversy: Princess Latifa and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson at their meeting in Dubai in December
Controversy: Princess Latifa and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson at their meeting in Dubai in December
Intervention: Mary Robinson was photographed with runaway princess. Picture: Collins

Anne-Marie Walsh

Former President Mary Robinson has said she "respects the privacy" of Princess Haya bint Hussein, who has fled the United Arab Emirates for political asylum in Europe.

Ms Robinson was criticised six months ago for her bizarre intervention in the Princess Latifa case.

Princess Latifa is the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The princess made an alleged attempt to escape from her family and was not seen for months until she was recaptured off the coast of India in March of last year.

In December, Ms Robinson travelled to Dubai where she was pictured having lunch with Princess Latifa.

Ms Robinson later described Latifa as a "troubled young woman" and the visit was criticised by human rights organisations.

The former president insisted she made the trip "in good faith" and wrote a report about it for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

Princess Haya bint Hussein later told RTÉ that she invited Ms Robinson to "seek counsel as a family friend".

There has been fresh criticism of Ms Robinson's involvement in recent days amid reports that her friend Princess Haya - Sheik Al Maktoum's wife and Latifa's stepmother - has also fled the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is reportedly seeking political asylum in Germany.

When asked if she's been in touch with the princess, Ms Robinson said it is a "private matter."

"I've said already it's a private matter and I respect her privacy," she said, speaking to journalists at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ biennial conference in Dublin today, where she addressed the conference on climate change.

"I really have nothing more to say about that," she said when asked about her friendship with Princess Haya.

"I have never been friends except with Princess Haya. One friend, who is still my friend."

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News