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Abdullah bin Zayed renews UAE's firm stance towards Iran's occupation of its three islands

posted on 13/09/2012: 2586 views

Astana - The UAE's three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa are still under Iranian occupation, UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has affirmed.

'Though this occupation is illegitimate, the UAE is still committed to international mediation or direct negotiations to reach a settlement to the territorial dispute that poses threat to international stability,' Sheikh Abdullah told the fourth meeting of foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) which opened yesterday in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

The UAE foreign minister said that Tehran's reluctance had been hampering any progress since 1971.

Sheikh Abdullah renewed the UAE's commitment to international engagement either through the UN or the International Court of Justice, any international mediation or direct bilateral negotiations.

The ministers will discuss the status and prospects of the CICA and exchange of views on topical issues, such as the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan, non-proliferation, combating transnational crime, as well as the priorities of economic cooperation.

Turning to Asia, Sheikh Abdullah said the continent is still facing several snags on its way towards employing its full potentials at the international scene.

On Syria, the UAE foreign minister regretted that the humanitarian situation is getting worse day after day due to obstinacy of the Syrian regime. He added that the UAE and its sister member states in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had committed to provide cash and kind assistance to neighbouring countries receiving Syrian refugees.

'What serves interest of Syria at present is a transition to a new government and no doubt the international sanctions is the best option to weaken the Syrian regime,' Sheikh Abdullah said, noting that the UAE, while acknowledges the positive steps taken by the Asian permanent members at the UN Security Council, it appeals to those countries to reconsider their stances and support the transition process in Syria.

As for Palestine, the UAE foreign minister described the Middle East peace process as 'stagnant' as Israel's continuous settlement policy is still blocking the way toward reaching any lasting and fair solution to the issue.

'The UAE believes that Asia can present a bright example of tolerance and cross-cultural and ethnic diversity. At the time we believe in the principle of non-interference into others' internal affairs, we would like to remind Asian governments of their responsibility of protect minorities living within their borders. The UAE is deeply concerned over the ethnic violent acts in Myanmar and calls on participating countries to urge the government of Myanmar to cease violations of international rights of minorities there.' In his address, Sheikh Abdullah also tackled the issue of fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, saying the UAE had played a leading role in that respect by hosting two major international conferences in Dubai aimed at mobilising public and private efforts to combat maritime piracy.

Asian countries, he said, are joining forces successfully to lay down affective mechanism to address daunting challenges.

He indicated that Istanbul process on Afghanistan sought to realise peace and stability in central Asia. He also remarked instability in Afghanistan could directly overshadow the GCC. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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