Panetta Arrives in United Arab Emirates By Karen Parrish American Forces Press Service ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, March 15, 2012 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta arrived here today to wrap up a Central Asia and Middle East trip that also took him to Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. He will meet here with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nauhyan, deputy supreme commander of the Emirati armed forces. Panetta told reporters traveling with him the United Arab Emirates is a very important ally in the region. "They've been very supportive of ... the mission in Libya, and they're working with us on the Syria issue as well," he said. The U.S. relationship with the United Arab Emirates is particularly important given America's strategic focus on the Middle East and the volatility in the region, he added.