GCC concern over UN-Iraq crisis and Iran
Gulf Region-Iran, Politics, 11/29/1997
The foreign ministers were preparing an agenda for the annual GCC summit in Kuwait in December which diplomats said will be faced with bilateral disputes over dealing with Iraq, Iran and Israel.
A statement read at the end of the meeting by Kuwaiti foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Said "discussions were held in a positive atmosphere" and that the six state views on Iraq were "Identical" he said. Kuwait's foreign minister warned that a crisis was brewing over U.N arms inspections across the border. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, in an opening address to the ministerial meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expressed "concern over Iraq's attempts to block the work of the UN inspectors."
The program of the two-day meeting of the GCC was to prepare for their summit in Oman on December 20. But that preparation has been overshadowed by the crisis which flared last month between Iraq an UN arms inspectors. The crisis has eased since Iraq allowed US inspectors back into the country last week.
Oman is represented at the meeting by Yusef bin Abdallah, minister of state for foreign affairs. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Soud Al-Faisal reiterated calls in the Gulf for a peaceful settlement. "We hope the crisis is in the process of being settled by diplomatic means. The international community is in agreement that Iraq must implement UN Security Council resolutions," he told reporters.
In his opening address, Sheikh Sabah also noted the hope that GCC relations with Iran would be marked by "positive and practical" developments to in the near future.
The recent tour of Gulf states by Iran's foreign minister Kamal Kharazi, Sabah observed, demonstrated a desire on Iran's part for better relations with the GCC on the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.
Sheikh Sabah called on Iran to respond "positively and immediately" to initiatives by the UAE for achieving a peaceful resolution of the dispute over the islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tanb and Abu Musa through the intervention of the International Court of Justice.
The Kuwaiti foreign minister also deplored the impasses in the Middle East peace process, which he attributed to "the stubborn policies of the Israeli government" in building settlements on occupied Arab territories and reneging on its promises.
The GCC states, he said, viewed the peace process as a strategic option. He reiterated the Gulf states' demand to Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab lands including Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and south Lebanon, in accord UN Security Council resolutions, and in the interest of achieving a fair and comprehensive peace in the region.
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