The foreign ministers from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries meeting in Doha today condemned as “provocative” a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Persian Gulf island of Abu Musa, which along with the Greater and Lesser Tunb islands are under the Iranian control but claimed by the UAE.
“The members of the GCC strongly condemn the Iranian president's visit to Abu Musa which is a provocative act and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands,” said a joint statement issued by the ministers.
The GCC (the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman) also demanded Iran “end its occupation of these islands and respond to calls by the UAE to find a peaceful and just solution through negotiations or by resorting to the international court.”
The GCC pledged their "full support to the UAE in all actions it takes to regain its rights and sovereignty over its islands” [AFP, 17 April].
The UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan warned on Monday that if left unresolved, the issue “could jeopardize international security and peace.”
This was followed by a warning from Ahmadinejad who said today that Iran will respond with force to any threats to its territorial integrity.
“The armed forces and the army will inflict heavy regret and shame in case of any aggression against Iranian lands and interests,” Ahmadinejad said, adding that Iran “is ready to protect its existence and sovereignty.”
Photo: GCC Foreign ministers attend the ministerial meeting in Doha (AFP Photo/Faisal al-Tamimi)