Iran Calls it Misunderstanding, We Call it Occupation : Abdullah

MANAMA - UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE and Iran enjoy “historic and progressive” relations. Yet, the differences on the UAE’s occupied islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa still exist.

“They call the issue a misunderstanding and we call it occupation. However, we should not view Iran’s continuous occupation of the UAE islands as a barrier for developing economic ties between the two countries. We even hope that such ties will reach a level through which we can resolve the dispute, not the other way around,” Shaikh Abdullah said while addressing a joint Press conference.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa was also present at the Press Conference held on Wednesday

On the economic situation in the UAE, Shaikh Abdullah said, “Needless to say, the global financial crisis that hit the American and European economies has impacted other economies of the world. The UAE was no exception, but in a positive way. The challenges were a good lesson and a wake up call for us to develop our systems and programmes and to reconsider some ideas and projects. It was also a strong response to those who voiced concern about the resilience of the UAE economy and cohesion of its federation.”

“The crisis is painful for the skeptics who questioned the political, economic and social experience of the UAE. For us it was beneficial. For others, it was a good lesson to know about the UAE.” Fielding a question on the GCC Central Bank, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE was interested to see a vital and strong cooperation among the GCC countries.

“The UAE is the only GCC member state that does not host any of the Council’s organisations. The UAE was the first country to ask for hosting the GCC Central Bank’s headquarters. Besides, it is one of the largest GCC economies in terms of association with the international banks. The UAE decided not to derail that initiative though it was able to. Instead, it opted for distancing itself. We wish that institution all the best, but we will not be part of it.”

Asked about Gulf security, Sheikh Abdullah said the foreign presence in the region was in no way demeaning to its countries.

“Today’s concept of sovereignty is different from that adopted 100 years ago. The world has become a small village and we have to understand and to welcome presence of our partners in the region in the same way we accept GCC partnerships with different world organisations, ” he added. Wam

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