UAE threatens to boycott Arab FM s meeting if Iran attends
United Arab Emirates-Iran, Politics, 3/8/2000
The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday threatened to boycott the meetings of the Arab League foreign ministers due to be held in Beirut to discuss the Israeli raids against Lebanon, if the meeting is attended by an Iranian official.
A prominent UAE official said in Dubai on Tuesday, "We cannot accept to attend a meeting to adopt a strong position against occupation of south Lebanon while one of the participants in the meeting occupies our islands," in reference to the border disputes over three Gulf islands controlled by Iran. The UAE calls for sovereignty over them.
On Monday evening the AL secretary general said that Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi will attend the meeting which will be held on March 11 and 12 as a representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, not of Iran.
Abdul Meguid stated that he will leave this matter to the foreign ministers to decide on Thursday whether there is an objection over Iran's participation as an observer for the OIC, which is currently presided over by Iran.
The UAE official added that his country also objects to not being consulted in the decision to permit Kharazi to attend the conference, adding that his country's refusal to attend the talks does not mean that it is not backing Lebanon.
Disputes between the UAE and Iran over Abu Mousa island, Lesser Tanb and Greater Tanb have obstructed the rapprochement attempts between Iran and its neighbors from the Arab Gulf states.
Iran says it is ready to hold talks to eliminate the misunderstanding, but the UAE wants these talks to be scheduled clearly and proposed to submit the disputes to international arbitration, if direct talks will not yield results.
Meanwhile, AL sources in Cairo said the secretary general of the OIC, Azzedine Laraki, will preside over the OIC delegation as an observer instead of Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.
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