Yemeni President Urges for Better Iranian-Arab Ties
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on his first visit to Iran, called on Monday for an end to regional tensions, Iranian state television reported.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami urged Middle East nations to cooperate to assure security and stability, it added.
A Yemeni official told Reuters in Sanaa that during his visit Saleh would raise a territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates over three small but strategic Gulf islands controlled by Tehran, but also claimed by the UAE.
The official said that Saleh, among other issues, would discuss the possibility of Yemen playing a mediating role to try to resolve the dispute, which casts a shadow over improving relations between the Islamic republic and its Arab neighbors.
Iranian News Agency quoted Tuesday Khatami as noting that "the presence of the Yemeni president and accompanying delegation in Iran signifies the strong friendly bonds between the two nations who have played key roles in the Islamic culture and history." He said he was sure that the two nations could tread the path of progress and prosperity in line with keeping stability and security in the region.
Saleh said that the Islamic republic of Iran and Yemen are situated in a sensitive region where they should make every effort to ward off any crisis and help promote regional development, security and stability through pooling all available capabilities.
Iran has been seeking to strengthen ties with Arab states since Khatami was elected in 1997 on a reformist platform.
The Yemeni official said Saleh might stop in the UAE for a brief visit on his way home.
State television said Saleh hoped Yemen and Iran could reach accords to cooperate in areas including transport, fishing and housing construction - (Agencies).
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