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  Middle East & Africa
Arab League, GCC Urge Iran to Stop Unilateral Move on Abu Musa Island
UAE demands Iran to dismantle facilities on disputed Gulf island.

The Arab League has expressed great concern on a report that the Iranian government has decided to set up some installations on the Abu Musa Island, in view of the consequences of such a move, which would further aggravate the current tension in the region.

In a statement issued on Aug. 16, the Arab League secretariat urged Iran to stop such a unilateral move and to respond positively to the sincere efforts being made to find a peaceful solution to the issues of the three UAE islands - The Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa - through direct negotiations or international arbitration in order to boost security and stability in the region.

Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) HE Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiya, has decried Iran's act of settling two administrative offices at the UAE's Island of Abu Mousa.

Al Attiya said in a statement ,on Aug, 15, "this act is a striking violation and illegitimate procedure on inseparable part of sovereign state, whose regional safety and territorial unity has to be respected,,"calling on Iran to cancel any conduct or procedure at the Abu Mousa Island."

He reiterated that the standing position of GCC in supporting full sovereignty of the UAE over the three Islands, Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa , calling on Iran to heed genuine repetitive UAE calls to settle the issue either through direct talks or referral to the International Court of Justice.

His statement came after the UAE has protested to Iran about the setting up of two facilities on one of three disputed Gulf islands and demanded they be dismantled. Abu Musa Island is governed as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier in 1971.

A report by the Iranian state TV said that Iran has set up offices on the island. The report quoted an Iranian marine official as saying that Iran has set up a marine rescue centre and a registration office for ships and sailors on Abu Musa Island.

The UAE official said these acts are illegal and a clear violation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He added that such violations will never help to promote bilateral relations between UAE and Iran.

The official stressed that the MoU does not give Iran the sovereignty over the island or even parts of it. He called on Iran to abide by the articles of the MoU on Abu Musa, and to revoke any plans or actions that violate the MoU.

He reiterated UAE's stand that the issue of sovereignty over the three islands, greater and lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, should be settled through international arbitration or be referred to the international court of justice.

The Iranian Charge d'Affairs in UAE was called on Aug.14 by the UAE Foreign Ministry, where Undersecretary Saif Sultan Al Aryani handed over to him a memorandum of protest on the Iranian act, the official said.

In the meantime, Iraqi government earlier reiterated UAE's sovereignty over three islands occupied by Iran.

In a memorandum sent to UAE's foreign ministry, the Iraqi government asserted its unconditional support to the sovereignty of UAE over its three islands occupied by Iran. The Iraqi parliamentary delegation had made a reservation on a resolution passed at the end of the 13th conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union held in Erbil earlier in March asserting UAE's right to the islands.

The memorandum sent by Iraqi Foreign ministry to UAE said that Iraq reiterates UAE's sovereignty over the three islands Tunb Al Kubra, Tunb Al Sugra and Abu Musa which are occupied by Iran. It also said that Iraq supports all procedures and peaceful means UAE will adopt to reclaim the three islands, and rejects any action from Iran to bolster the occupation. It said that Iraq will support all Arab and international initiatives to solve the issue peacefully either through direct talks between Iran and UAE or through litigation before the international court of justice as they will build confidence, peace and security in the region.

The memorandum alluded to Iraq's support to the Arab League resolution passed in the Arab Summit held on 29 and 30 in Syria asserting UAE's ownership of the three islands. The memorandum also noted that during the proceedings of the 13th conference of the APU, Iraq's President Jalal Talabani had asserted this stance in his speech at the closing session of the conference.

UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan appreciated Iraq's support to UAE's right to the three islands and said that this stance will give impetus to the solution of Arab issues.

Sheikh Abdullah alluded to the historic stance Iraq had adopted earlier in 1971 at the time of UAE's independence, submitting the occupation issue to the Arab League and the Security Council. "We appreciate this stance and remember the support Iraq gave at every regional and international forum asserting UAE's right to reclaim its three islands"; Sheikh Abdullah said. (Agencies)






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