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GCC states maintain rejection of Iranian occupation of UAE islands

JEDDAH, Sept 16 (KUNA) -- The ministerial council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries on Thursday reiterated firm opposition to Iran's continued occupation of three UAE islands.
The final statement of the 149th session of the council renewed the GCC unwavering support to the UAE sovereignty over the three islands of Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.
The UAE has unequivocal sovereignty over these islands, including their territorial waters, airspace and continental shelf, according to the statement, read by GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef of the Hajraf.
The ministerial meeting was held at the Riyadh-based GCC Secretariat under the chairmanship of Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani.
The council maintain its stance that the three islands are integral part of the UAE territories, and thereby deeming null and void any acts or practices by Iran on these islands, the statement stressed. It called on Iran to respond positively to the UAE endeavors to solve the dispute through direct negotiations or refer it to the International Court of Justice.
Regarding the relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the council reminded of its previous resolutions and basic principles of neighborliness, mutual respect and noninterference in the domestic affairs of others.
It also highlighted the need of resolving any differences through peaceful means and avoiding use of, or threatening to use, force, and rejecting all acts of terrorism or sectarianism, based on the UN Charter and international law.
The statement expressed hope that the new President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi would play a positive role in alleviating the tension and building trust between the GCC states, on one hand, and his country on the other in keeping with the stances of the GCC of which Iran was informed.
It also voiced hope that the talks on Iran's nuclear program would tackle Iran's destabilizing role in the region and its sponsorship of terrorist and sectarian militias as well as the country's missile program, and the safety of international navigation and oil facilities.
The ministerial meeting denounced Iran's failure to meet its nuclear obligations through accelerating uranium enrichment above the level needed for peaceful purposes.
It urged Iran to back down from this move and cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency. (end) asa.gb