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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

UAE says Iran is aiming for Arab 'chaos'

The UAE and the region should stand together to resist foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries, says UAE's Dr Anwar Gargash.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said Iran insists on interfering in Arab countries affairs and must be combated with unity and intolerance for extremism.  Guiseppe Cacace / AFP
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said Iran insists on interfering in Arab countries affairs and must be combated with unity and intolerance for extremism. Guiseppe Cacace / AFP

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash has accused Iran of trying to push Arab states into "a descent into chaos."

Both the UAE and the region should stand together to resist foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries.

Dr Gargash restated the UAE’s commitment to resolving the crisis in Yemen, where Houthi rebels backed by Iran seized the capital, Sanaa in 2015. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition to restore the country's legitimate government.

“Iran is at the top of this list, and its accomplices, in its persistence to back extremist groups and the training and equipping of terrorists and militias. And insisting on promoting sectarianism in hoping the Arab nations descent into chaos,” he said.

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At a meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab League nations in Egypt, Dr Gargash also raised the subject of Qatar and the need for Doha to commit to making as much effort as its neighbours to maintaining security.

“With all the wars we are witnessing, we need all countries to stop drawing its backing from sources that do not want peace,” he said. The problem must be solved through diplomacy and mediation must begin with Qatar adhering to the 13 demands made by the so-called quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. He also said Doha had to be more transparent in its efforts to resolve the crisis and stop trying to destabilise the region.

“Since the four countries took action and Qatar got caught up in its crisis, politically, dealings have become easier in Libya, Syria, in Yeme. This leads to the conclusion that there was support, financing, to make the situation worse,” he said.

Dr Gargash said dialogue was the only way forward but only when Doha shows an honest and transparent desire to negotiate.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar came close to resolving the crisis when Emir Tamim Al Thani spoke by phone with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman on Friday.

However, Saudi Arabia called for the talks to be ‘suspended’ after the ministry of foreign affairs said Doha was not ‘ "serious" about resolving the crisis.

The issue appears to be a dispute over protocol — specifically over how Qatar News Agency failed to mention that it was Doha that had initiated the phone call.

The UAE also restated its grievances towards Iran’s occupation of two of its islands, the lesser and greater Tunb, saying Iran must return to the negotiating table.

Dr Gargash said countering terrorism while maintaining stability should be the main goal for the region’s governments. On Syria and Iraq and the fight against ISIL, he said the League was ready to support internationally-recognised solutions.