x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 September 2017

Sheikh Abdullah urges UN to act over islands

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed urges Iran to enter direct negotiations over Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. Reuters / Keith Bedford
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. Reuters / Keith Bedford

UNITED NATIONS // The UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, yesterday appealed to the United Nations to urge Iran to settle a dispute over three Arabian Gulf islands through direct negotiations or via the International Court of Justice.

"My government expresses, once again, its regret regarding the continued Iranian occupation of our three islands - Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs - and demands for the restoration of the UAE's full sovereignty," Sheikh Abdullah told the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.

"We emphasise all actions and measures taken by the Iranian occupation authorities are null and void, and are contrary to international law and to all norms and common human values," he said.

The Arab League's ministerial council on September 5 reaffirmed that the islands belong to the UAE, and condemned Tehran for destabilising the Arabian Gulf by its continued occupation.

The council criticised Iran's construction of settlements for Iranian citizens on the islands, as well as for conducting military exercises over their airspace and in their territorial waters. Members also called on Iran to dismantle two offices it had built on Abu Musa.

Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, in a speech to the General Assembly on Friday, also called on Iran to negotiate a settlement or go to the ICJ. "There is hardly any response that could help in building trust and anchor the pillars of security and stability," he said. "On the contrary, the GCC countries are facing continuous interferences in their domestic affairs."

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made no mention of the islands during his address to the Assembly on Wednesday.

Sheikh Abdullah also urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency "to dispel all fears and suspicions surrounding its nuclear programme".

In a reference to Israeli threats of military action to disrupt Tehran's atomic programme, Sheikh Abdullah said he looked "forward to a peaceful solution to this crisis that ensures removing tension and crises from our region."

 

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