GCC Sides with UAE in Territory Dispute with Iran
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Sunday sided with the United Arab Emirates in its territorial dispute with Iran over three Gulf islands, but pleaded for a peaceful settlement to the problem.
In their final declaration at the end of the 21st GCC summit, the six Gulf leaders ensured Abu Dhabi of the GCC's "support for their right to the three islands and its refusal to go along with their occupation by Iran."
The leaders underlined the "full sovereignty of the UAE over the islands, an integral part of the Emirates," and charged its foreign ministers with examining "all possible peaceful ways of allowing the UAE to regain the three islands."
They also condemned Iran's "refusal" to receive a tripartite ministerial committee formed by the GCC to activate dialogue and mediation to bring an end to the dispute.
The GCC, which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, formed the committee of the Saudi, Qatari and Omani foreign ministers in July 1999.
Iran seized the three Gulf islands -- Abu Mussa, the Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb -- in 1971 after Britain withdrew from the region.
The United Arab Emirates has said it will never give up its claims to the islands. Tehran rejects the UAE's claims and considers the islands an integral part of Iran -- MANAMA (AFP)
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