x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

US issues statement supporting UAE in islands row with Iran

US State Department issues statement supporting the UAE over its row with Iran regarding the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

The US State Department has stepped into a row between the UAE and Iran over the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

In a statement, it said it "appreciates the UAE's efforts in this regard and urges Iran to respond positively to the UAE's initiative to resolve the issue through direct negotiations, the International Court of Justice or another appropriate international forum".

Gulf foreign ministers met in Qatar yesterday to discuss the escalating dispute between the UAE and Iran that was sparked by a visit to Abu Musa by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

The visit on April 11 "only complicates efforts to settle the issue," the US statement said.

Abu Musa and the Tunbs are close to the strategically important shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz. Iran invaded and occupied them in 1971 as the UAE was founded.

Mr Ahmadinejad warned yesterday that Iran would respond with force to any threats to its territorial integrity.