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Time to invite Iran to negotiating table, says UAE

By Jay Jackson, Salt Lake City News.Net
11 Nov 2019, 20:02 GMT+10

ABU DHABI, UAE - One of the major countries in the GCC and the Arab League has called for a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between Iran and major powers, particularly the United States.

The UAE says dialogue should be opened with Iran and it was also vital that Arab Gulf countries take part.

The GCC, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia has been at odds with the Islamic Republic in recent years over what it describes as Iran's interference in regional affairs. These states, particularly the UAE and the Saudis have also railed against Qatar, maintaining a blockade against that country.

At the same time as the flare-up against Iran, Qatar and Iranian sponsored groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the Arab states have been developing warming ties with Israel, which has led the world in its confrontation with Iran.

As friction in recent months has led to hostilities including attacks on oil tankers and Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, the UAE has been less vocal than others, particularly Washington and Riyadh, in blaming Iran.

The risk has been that events have been leading towards an escalation in hostilities that could lead to war, and the UAE for its part is saying the region doesn't need another war.

Iran is a very populated country that traditionally has done great trade with its neighbours and the rest of the world. It appears the UAE wants to see Iran come back into the fold.

"For such a process to work, it is essential that the international community is on the same page, especially the U.S. and the EU, as well as the Arab Gulf states," the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash (pictured) said on Sunday during the annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate.

"It is vital to include Arab Gulf states in these negotiations," he said.

Dr Gargash said diplomacy is needed now more than ever to: "create a new, more stable regional order in which all countries will be able to thrive."

As far as the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, is concerned he said having a flawed agreement was not a reason for going to war.

What is needed, he said, is a renewed, robust and realistic diplomatic effort to reach a more sustainable agreement.

"Further escalation at this point serves no one and we strongly believe that there is room for collective diplomacy to succeed," he said.

"I believe there could be a path to a deal with Iran that all parties might soon be ready to embark on. It will be long, and patience and courage will be required," he said.

He said it should not only focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions, which that country maintains is for nuclear purposes but also its ballistic missile programme and what it says is its regional interference.

The UAE's rallypoint on Sunday follows a speech earlier this year by Iran's president which called for greater unity among Arab states.

"Iran is ready to work with regional states to preserve security in the Middle East," Hassan Rouhani said in a public speech in the southern Hormozgan province on 17 February, which was broadcast live on state TV.

"We want to establish brotherly ties with all countries of the region. Iran has never started any aggression in the region," he said.

"Those regional states that believe Israel and America can establish security are wrong. We, the Muslims, should ensure the regional security," the Iranian president said.

(File photo).

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