Iran Urged To Resolve Row over Islands
The Emirates’ Federal National Council (FNC) has called on Iran to resolve the issue of “the three occupied UAE islands” through direct negotiations and the International Court of Justice, according to the UAE’s official news agency (WAM).
Mohammed Khalifa Al Habtour, the FNC's speaker, called for an end to Iranian occupation of the UAE islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs during the first session of the third ordinary meeting of the body's 12th Legislative Chapter, WAM said.
"I would like to call on Iran and its neighborly peoples to respond to the principled call by President Sheikh Zayed to resolve the issue of the three UAE islands by peaceful means and through direct negotiations and the International Court of Justice," said Habtour.
Habtour was quoted by the agency as saying "the council has spared no effort through participation in Arab, Islamic and international forums to support and highlight the firm stances of the country towards national, Arab, Islamic and humanitarian causes."
Meanwhile, Iran has rejected any call to withdraw from three Emirati islands it occupied in 1971, saying they are “integral parts of the Iranian territory.”
Iran turned down the call of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which was recently renewed by the foreign ministers, who reiretrated their support for Abu Dhabi in its row with Tehran, and called on Tehran in their final communiqué to withdraw from the three islands.
But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected the GCC calls, saying that the dispute could only be solved through direct dialogue between Iran and the UAE.
Relations between Iran and the UAE took a positive turn when a high-ranking Emirati delegation visited Iran in August and discussed the issue with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.
Kharrazi started talks with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was accompanied by Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Interior Ministry Undersecretary Sheikh Seif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Both sides voiced hopes for improved relations following high-level meetings in Tehran, although nothing was revealed about the fate of the disputed islands.
The visit "opened a new horizons for relations between the two countries," said Khatami after a meeting with Sheikh Hamdan - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)