UAE slams Iran for Bahrain interference
The UAE on Sunday condemned Iran for its interference in Bahrainís domestic issues, accusing Tehran of trying to distract from its forthcoming elections.
Addressing a joint Press conference, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, along with his Australian counterpart Bob Carr, said Iran had no right to interfere in GCC regional affairs.
“Our Iranian neighbours have a real problem in understanding and identifying the way in which they deal with their neighbours,” Shaikh Abdullah said.
Shaikh Abdullah was referring to Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Amir Abdullah Yan, who criticised a search operation carried out by Bahraini police personnel in the house of Eissa Qassim, a religious scholar in Diraz district.
“We condemn Iran for its direct interference in the domestic issues of Bahrain. We expect Tehran (to take) a positive path in dealing with its neighbour for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”
Shaikh Abdullah said being a Muslim state, Iran should adhere to the Islamic teachings of acting like a good neighbour, and promoting a tolerant and peaceful co-existence.
“Iran has issued the unnecessary (criticism) in haste to deviate public attention because of the forthcoming elections in the country. The statement was deliberately issued to divert the attention of voters,” he added.
The UAE foreign minister further said all the countries in the region, including Iran, must have friendly and normal neighbourly relations in the name of stability and progress.
“Iran and its public have to reconsider their relations and policies towards their neighbours. This will serve the interests of the whole region,” he added.
Shaikh Abdullah also referred to the Syrian crisis and said he regretted that thousands of
innocent lives were being lost or otherwise affected with cities, villages, clinics and schools coming under attack by the regime.
“The UN Security Council has to intervene and come up with an effective resolution. It is sad that no effective measures have been taken by the council (to) save thousands of innocent lives. I ask (my honourable) friend Bob Carr, the Foreign Minister of Australia, which is an important member of the council, to push for an effective resolution that might help bring an end to the outrageous attacks on the civilians by the Syrian regime,” he said.
On the situation in Syria, the UAE foreign minister said: “Australia plays an important role in the UN Security Council through backing resolutions that serve the interests of the Syrian people and confront the tyrant regime which represses its people.”
Carr described the Syrian situation as one of the humanitarian crises in the world, and said Australia was in favour of a “peaceful” transition of power towards democracy.
Australia was working to assess the impacts of refugees on the region, Carr said, calling on all parties to stop all attacks on civilians and hospitals.
Shaikh Abdullah also announced that the two countries had finalised the structure of the UAE-Australia Cooperation Committee that had been agreed under a memorandum of understanding last year.
“Today we completed the structure of the committee that will help further develop, cultural, political and (economic) relations between the two countries. The committee will play a vital role in the educational field where thousands of Emirati students are studying in Australia and more will be joining the institutes. This will facilitate our students in Australia and those planning...to join Australian institutes,” said Shaikh Abdullah.
He also elaborated on the trade exchange between the two countries, saying the deep-rooted relations over the last 20 years had witnessed great strength.
For his part, Carr said Australian trade and investment in the UAE was about US$6 billion with over 300 business interests in the UAE.
“We have achieved tremendous growth and strength in all fields in our relations. Today we have over 125 flights between the two countries a week. The MoU for setting up of an UAE-Australia Cooperation Committee has also been finalised and with this we will see further growth in these bilateral relations,” said the Australian foreign minister.
The topic of a visa waiver for Emirati citizens wanting to visit Australia had also been discussed, with Shaikh Abdullah saying despite “positive indicators” from Carr, more time was needed for negotiations.
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