Stop meddling, Iran told
Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) lashed out at Iran as they concluded a two-day summit here on Tuesday, saying Tehran must immediately and completely stop its interference in their internal affairs.
They also called for a rapid political transition in war-torn Syria.
The GCC states expressed “deep sadness over the continued shedding of blood by the regime and the destruction of cities and infrastructure, making political transition a demand which must be rapidly implemented”.
The 33rd summit of the GCC leaders reiterated their rejection and denunciation of Iran’s policies and measures which would increase tensions in the region and threaten the security and stability of the six-nation bloc.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who led the UAE delegation to the summit, expressed the hope that “the outcome of the summit would yield the well-being, integration and success for our nation and peoples who deserve all our support for a dignified life and security”.
In a communique issued at the end of the summit, the GCC states stressed the need for Iran’s commitment to the principles of good-neighbourly relations, mutual respect and to resolving disputes through peaceful means without resorting to threats.
“The council expressed its rejection and condemnation of the continuing Iranian interference in the affairs of the GCC states and called on Iran to stop these policies,” said the statement read out by GCC Secretary-General Abdulatif Al Zayani.
The statement reiterated the GCC’s rejection of the continued Iranian occupation of the UAE islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs. The summit fully backed the UAE’s full sovereignty over its islands, declaring their regional waters, airspace, continental shelf and their exclusive economic zone as integral and inseparable parts of the UAE.
The statement emphasised that all actions and measures taken by Iran on the three islands are null and void and change none of historical and legal facts, all of which confirm the UAE’s right to sovereignty on its islands.
It regretted that contacts with Iran on the issue of the UAE’s islands had made no positive progress towards a solution that would enhance regional security and stability.
The GCC Supreme Council’s statement also expressed concern over Iran’s nuclear programme as a source of threat to regional and international security and peace.
Stressing that Iran and other states have right to have peaceful nuclear power, the statement stressed the need for Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear facilities under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa told reporters Iran posed a “very serious threat”.
“Politically, (there is) lots of meddling in the affairs of GCC states; an environmental threat to our region from the technology used inside nuclear facilities; and there is, of course, the looming nuclear programme,” he said, referring to Iran’s disputed atomic work.
“So the threat level is quite high, but we are ready if faced with circumstances that require action.” He said the GCC states will form a unified military command structure in response to any threat from Iran.
The group will coordinate air, land, and marine forces under one structure, Shaikh Khalid said at the end of the summit.
“We have several commands at the moment in different countries,” Shaikh Khalid said. “We want to create a central command that coordinates between all sub-commands and makes them work under one umbrella.” The new structure won’t replace the Peninsula Shield forces, he said.
On the conflict in Syria, the GCC statement said: “We ask the international community for serious and swift moves to stop these massacres and these severe attacks that contradict all religions and international laws and humanitarian principles.”
The GCC called on the international community “to provide all forms of urgent humanitarian aid” for the people of Syria.
Kuwait said on Monday it would host an international humanitarian donor conference for Syria at the end of January, amid growing concern for millions of Syrians suffering war, homelessness and winter cold.
Shaikh Mohammed, who left Bahrain on the conclusion of the summit, was seen off by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at Sakhir Palace, the venue of the meeting.
In a cable to King Hamad, Shaikh Mohammed expressed his appreciation of the generous and authentic Arab hospitality and warm welcome accorded by the Bahraini King to the UAE delegation.
He also hailed the success of the summit which he said was chaired by the King of Bahrain “with all the wisdom that positively contributed to the success of the summit”.
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