Iran not enemy, but must stop meddling: GCC
Manama, December 26, 2012
Declining bilateral ties with Iran could be salvaged if it ends its continuous interference in the Gulf countries, said Bahrain’s Foreign Minister yesterday at the closing of the 33rd GCC Summit.
Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa stressed that the GCC did not consider Iran an enemy, despite its meddling in internal affairs, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"Our relationship with neighbouring Iran has changed over the years, in ups and downs, but we never saw it as an enemy," he said.
"We are keen on bringing our relationship with Iran into calmness, but their actions are not giving us space at the moment. Every time we are at the defending end, especially with Iranian threats taking different shapes, every time we open a door to extend our friendship.
"We have told the Iranians that escalation is not the solution and would lead no-one anywhere, but they are not listening, as they continue to interfere and meddle with Gulf states' affairs,” he added.
He was speaking at a Press conference at the closing of the summit at Sakhir Palace in Bahrain.
Shaikh Khalid, who is the GCC ministerial committee chairman, said that Iran's nuclear programme was not necessarily a military threat.
"The Iranian nuclear programme is an environmental threat with their nuclear plant not coming under international monitoring and we fear that without proper standards being practised, that danger is looming," he said.
"Iran's nuclear plans are high risk to the whole region at the moment, but we have nothing against them possessing this energy for peaceful uses, if they allow the international community in on what they are doing.
"We don't see Iran's nuclear programme necessarily as a military threat, but we are ready if they have aggressive plans in mind."
He said that Iran was occupying three Emirates islands and had to return them through friendly negotiations or else face legal action in the International Court of Justice. – TradeArabia News Service
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