Italy Backs UAE on Islands Issue

ABU DHABI - Italian Parliament Speaker Gianfranco Fini has underlined that the Iran-occupied islands of Abu Mousa, and Greater and Lesser Tunbs belong to the UAE and diplomacy is the way to restore them.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Tue 20 Jan 2009, 1:53 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:39 AM

Speaking at a Press conference held along with Federal National Council (FNC) Speaker Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al Ghurair here on Sunday, Fini said, “Our stand is that the three islands are locatedexactly inside UAE territories, and the dispute could be resolved by direct negotiations and through diplomatic channels.”

Al Ghurair said the FNC and the Italian Parliament signed a cooperation agreement.

“It stipulates setting up of a Parliamentary Friendship Committee with the aim of boosting dialogue and understanding between the two parliaments on issues of mutual concern, as part of promoting bilateral relations as well as relations among the GCC countries and European Union Countries.”

The agreement also calls for working to solve the economic problems and boosting parliamentary cooperation, especially in international trade, energy resources as well as scientific and technological fields.

The Italian parliamentary delegation’s visit to the UAE was in response to a similar tour by an FNC delegation to Italy last November, Al Ghurair said. Underscoring the strength of the UAE-Italy ties, Fini said, “The two countries have trade and tourism cooperation at the highest level, which will prompt us to take strong measures in the next two months to cement the bonds of friendship.

“In this context, we have allowed the UAE and Italian youths to learn about each other’s culture by the help of the MPs. Students from the UAE are studying in Italian universities, a thing we feel proud of.”

On the Middle East crisis, he said, “Italy is absolutely convinced that peace is neither a Palestinian or a Mediterranean issue, especially after the 9/11 incidents, it is rather an international matter, which needs forging world efforts to combat terrorism.”

The keenness of the Italian President to attend the Sharm El Sheikh Summit, which was held on Sunday, was evidence to the efforts Rome is making to end the war in Gaza.

Italy stands for a two-state solution whereby both Palestine and Israel live in peace, he said.
Fini praised the UAE’s efforts in this regard, saying, “No doubt, the UAE has been exerting tremendous efforts to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people for a long time.”

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