US secretary of state Hilary Clinton is wading into the BlackBerry ban debate in the Gulf by holding talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE plans to ban BlackBerry email, web and IM features, due to its inability to monitor encrypted messages, which it said presents security concerns.
Clinton said the UAE government must balance "legitimate security concerns" with "right of free use and access," according to the BBC.
She reportedly said: "We are taking time to consult and analyse the full range of interests and issues at stake, because we know that there is a legitimate security concern. But there is also a legitimate right of free use and access. So I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go forward."
The UAE telecoms regulatory authority told the BBC: "In their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE."
Meanwhile, a ban on BlackBerry-to-BlackBerry IM has come into force today in Saudi Arabia, with Lebanon also announcing it will look into following suit in a bid to be able to decypt messages and check for terrorist and criminal activity.
Imad Hoballah, chair of Lebanon's telecoms regulatory authority reportedly said: "We need to make an arrangement with BlackBerry or come to an understanding with them that satisfies law enforcement concerns."
However, Clinton is not said to have mentioned other countries which have voiced concerns about the BlackBerry arrangement.
Commenting on the issue earlier in the week, a RIM spokesman said BlackBerrys are "designed to preclude RIM, or any third party, from reading encrypted information under any circumstances since RIM does not store or have access to the encrypted data".