x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE summons Iranian ambassador over Abu Musa island dispute

THE UAE has summoned the ambassador to Iran to denounce a visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a disputed island in the Gulf.

The UAE has summoned Iran's ambassador to denounce a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Abu Musa, one of the disputed islands in the Gulf, according to the state news agency Wam.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, "summoned the Iranian ambassador... and handed him a letter of protest", denouncing Mr Ahmadinejad's visit on Wednesday to Abu Musa, Wam reported. It later reported Dr Gargash met the ambassador at the embassy.

Mr Gargash called the visit a "violation of UAE sovereignty".

The move came after the UAE recalled its ambassador to Tehran and lodged a protest with the UN over the visit, stressing 
the territorial dispute should be resolved in talks or at the International Court of Justice.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed met ambassadors representing Security Council member states in Abu Dhabi to convey the "UAE's condemnation of this provocative visit," Wam said.

Tehran has insisted Mr Ahmadinejad's trip, during which he said historical documents proved "the Persian Gulf is Persian", is a purely "domestic issue".

Foreign ministers of the six GCC states are scheduled to hold a meeting in the Qatar capital, Doha, on Tuesday 
to discuss the dispute.

Both Iran and the UAE claim territorial sovereignty over Abu Musa and two other islands in the Gulf. Iran took control in 1971 of the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb.

The Iranian embassy refused to comment further "due to the sensitivity of the issue".