Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

FNC: islands issue more than 'dispute'

Members of council say "occupation" should be used to describe conflict with Iran over territory seized in 1971.

ABU DHABI // The battle of words over Iran's control of three UAE islands was stepped up yesterday when the nation's assembly stressed the seizure should be referred to as "occupation" rather than "dispute." Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) were about to vote yesterday on a number of recommendations related to the policies of the Foreign Ministry when Yousef Obaid al Nuaimi, a representative from Ras al Khaimah, suggested the terminological change.

"We should place a red line under the word dispute," he said about the word used in the two-page document of recommendations in which the council asked the government to intensify diplomatic efforts over the occupied territories, which were seized in 1971. "This is not a dispute. It's occupation. The Iranians use the [words] dispute and misunderstanding; for us it's occupation." Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, who attended April's session, angered the Iranian government when he told the FNC members that the Iranian control of the islands - Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs - was a "shameful occupation."

A number of members took the podium yesterday to back Mr al Nuaimi's point. A diplomatic source said yesterday that the UAE had always "clearly and without hesitation" used the term "occupation" to describe the conflict over the islands. In official documents presented to the UN, said the source, the only term used is "occupation". The same word has also been consistently used in the closing statements of the GCC and Arab League's annual summits, in which the Arab blocs urged Iran to end control of the islands.

In their international dealings, members of the FNC, including Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, the speaker, have used "occupation" and "dispute" interchangeably. But Iranian officials have refused to describe the status quo as "dispute," preferring the words "misunderstanding" and "marginal issue". Despite the fact that the word "occupation" had been always used by the FNC and the Government, the members insistence yesterday to use it in their report instead of "dispute" suggested a hardening of the council's stance on the issue.

For two decades, Iran has pursued a policy of fait accompli in the three islands. In 1992, Iran forced Emiratis sailing to the islands to apply for Iranian visas. In 1996, Iran built an airport on Abu Musa and a power station on Greater Tunb. @Email:mhabboush@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National