Iran Spurns Mediation Committee on Disputed Islands
Iran will not receive a tripartite Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) committee formed to facilitate a dialogue between Tehran and Abu Dhabi over three disputed Gulf islands, a newspaper reported Saturday.
According to Asharq al-Awsat, Iran's refusal to welcome the committee, which has never been to Tehran, came on the eve of the 21st GCC summit, which opens in Manama on Saturday.
Citing official Gulf sources, the London-based daily said Iran took this "definitive" decision following statements by one of the three members of the committee, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, supporting Emirati claims to the three islands controlled by Iran.
Gulf leaders gathered in Bahrain for the two-day summit are to decide if the committee will continue its work after consulting Emirati authorities on the subject, the paper said.
The GCC, which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, formed the committee consisting of the Saudi, Qatari and Omani foreign ministers in 1999.
The United Arab Emirates has said it will never give up its claim to the three Gulf islands -- Abu Mussa, the Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb -- seized by Iran in 1971 after Britain withdrew from the region.
Tehran rejects the UAE's claims to the islands and considers them an integral part of Iran -- DUBAI (AFP)
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