UAE to sharpen islands strategy
Khaleej Times - 22 April, 2012
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash has called
on Iran to enter into negotiations with the UAE over the three islands
occupied by Tehran and to refrain from using arrogant language.
“The UAE today is not that small baby born on 2nd December 1971, rather it’s
a key state with huge potentials,” Gargash reminded, calling on Iran to be a
mature state and to take into consideration the “neighbourly relationship”
that link the two countries.
“We will remain neighbours forever despite our differences,” the minister
told Dubai TV in an interview. The UAE, he affirmed, is a wise, respectable
state adopting civilised approaches to restore its right. “We are following
a long-patience policy”.
The statement came in the wake of the UAE’s reaction — which analysts
considered as “unprecedented in term of its strength” — to a recent visit
made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to Abu Mousa Island, which
Iran occupied, along with the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, in 1971 on the eve
of the birth of the UAE Federation.
Meanwhile, a senior Arab League official said in Cairo that implications of
Ahmedinejad’s visit to Abu Mousa will top the agenda of the extraordinary
meeting of the Arab foreign ministers on Thursday.
League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed bin Heli said the foreign ministers
would take a common Arab stand on the issue.
In the Dubai TV interview, Gargash said the UAE will adopt a new political
strategy in pressing for the demand to solve the issue through peaceful
diplomatic channels under the umbrella of the international law. “We are
mulling all possible options before us in this respect,” he said, adding
that the next phase will see intensive drive for UAE diplomacy.
He emphasised that it’s not in the interest of either the UAE or Iran to
escalate the situation because solution to a bilateral problem cannot be
reached through provocative statements.
Gargash noted that the UAE’s firm and decisive reaction to the Iranian
violation of its sovereignty has nothing to do with what the Iranians were
talking about a foreign move. “We are fed up with the record of foreign
pressure which the Iranians kept parroting”.
The UAE’s reaction was strong, he went on to say, because Ahmedinejad’s
visit to Abu Mousa was an “unprecedented development”.
“It is the first time an Iranian president paid a visit to our occupied
islands”. The visit, he indicated, has circumvented a year’s efforts to
initiate bilateral negotiations.
The minister said the UAE was shocked by Ahmedinejad’s visit to Abu Mousa
island, which undermined Tehran’s credibility.
He attributed the UAE’s surprise to the fact that “the visit was conducted
at a time when the two countries reached an understanding on negotiation
over the islands. After months of arduous efforts, the two sides had agreed
that it was time to solve the problem. The UAE had even named its negotiator
and Iran assigned a senior adviser of Ahmedinejad to the mission.
Gargash said the UAE’s claim of ownership to the islands is “based on
realistic and tangible historic evidence”.
But he said “the UAE stands ready to risk its historic and legal facts and
win or lose at the International Court of Justice”.
Refuting Iran’s allegations of having historic evidences to claim ownership
of the islands, Gargash said: “He who has such evidences is supposed to
accept international arbitration”.