CAIRO - The United Arab Emirates has reiterated full support to Saudi
Arabia against Iranian interference in its internal affairs and the readiness
to take further steps in support of the Kingdom.
This statement was made by Foreign Minister H.H.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed during a joint press conference with his Saudi
counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir and the Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Nabil
Al Arabi in Cairo today. The press conference was held at the end of the
extraordinary meeting of the Arab foreign ministers, which was chaired by Sheikh
"The foreign ministers affirmed that we as Arabs
do not want a conflict, a confrontation or even a war with Iran. We rather seek
to drive development for our countries, our peoples and our region. We believe
that the Arab region is blessed with rich natural and human resources, enough
to meet our peoples' aspirations but unfortunately, that wasn't possible due to
years of bickering and conflicts," Sheikh Abdullah said.
Sheikh Abdullah urged Iran to come to its senses
and get out of its revolutionary rhetoric and the religious and chauvinistic
aura it uses with its citizens.
"I think we will continue to be in this
situation but we want normal relations with Iran and it is for them to prove
they are sincere as well, not only by words, but also by tangible action."
Asked if Iranian apology was satisfactory for the
Arab countries and Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah said such apology would be
acceptable in normal circumstances if it was made by a nation that can mean
what they say, not by countries that are still undecided whether they are a
state or a revolution.
Asked whether commercial relations with Iran were
behind UAE's decision not to follow the suit and severe its diplomatic ties
with Iran, Sheikh Abdullah said the volume of UAE's foreign trade exceeds
US$400 billion and its trade with Iran contributes only 4 percent of that.
"It is true that we had historic commercial
relations with Iran and in the 60s and 70s, but today, trade exchange between
the two countries has little contribution in our national income,"
He said tourism contribution to in the GDP is
estimated at 8.3 percent, far exceeding the country's trade volume with Iran,
adding that 17 million tourists visit the UAE every year.
He countered news reports that 500,000 Iranians
live in the UAE, saying the number of Iranians in the UAE is less than 90,000
and the Iranian companies operating in the UAE are less than 200.
"I urge (the media) not to blow things out of
"I am sure the attacks on Saudi embassy and
consulate in Iran form an act of aggression against Saudi Arabia, hence,
against the UAE. The UAE downgraded diplomatic levels with Iran, but nothing
can stop us from taking further steps in support of Saudi Arabia."
Sheikh Abdullah underlined UAE's by Saudi Arabia,
saying that the two countries are engaged in the Arab Coalition to support
legitimacy in Yemen.
"Our commercial interests are not going to
prevail on our political interests," he said.
Sheikh Abdullah also said in the 1973 war, the late
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan cut oil exports to the United States and the
Netherlands who were supporting Israel.
"I hope this will eliminate any misconceptions
about the UAE and its stances in support of the Arab countries."
Sheikh Abdullah stressed the importance of the
extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers today in Cairo and the strong
support given to Saudi Arabia's sovereignty and non-interference in its
He further said that following speeches, the
meeting discussed developments and Saudi Foreign Minister detailed the
"The attacks against Saudi embassy and
consulate were blatant violations of the international law. Moreover, there are
many issues that kept adding up since the Iranian revolution."
Sheikh Abdullah said all Arab countries agreed to
the meeting's resolution and final statement, except Lebanon which abstained
voting for the resolution and objected to the statement.
"All issues, whether related to the UAE,
Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria and (Iranian) interventions in Lebanon and
Iraq were discussed. It is true that at the end of the day Iran is a neighbor,
but we can't establish what identity that neighbor wants to adopt, the good one
or the absurd one."
He went on to say: "Unfortunately, we see that
Iran is currently interested in mending fences with the West, not with the
region. If they made the same efforts to lift sanctions and to resolve nuclear
differences with the 5+1 countries, they would have reached a solution with the
region's countries but we haven't seen any serious approach yet. We might hear
talks here and there but we do not see positive action. In fact, all we see is
negative actions. Iran should stop that to show they are sincere."
Asked if there were any mediation efforts, Sheikh
Abdullah said he wasn't aware of any such efforts.
"Some of the Arab foreign ministers made
contacts with Iranian officials but there was no sign from the Iranian side
that qualifies such contacts to the level of mediation."
He added that in politics, there is no such a thing
as turning down mediation offer and there are no perpetual differences.
"Iran will always remain a neighbor and we
should deal with them based on that. However, we cannot restore ties with Iran
to what they used be without addressing the issues between us."
On the Syrian issue, Sheikh Abdullah said hopes
were pinned on the upcoming meeting of the Syrian opposition with the Syrian
regime in Geneva on 25th January.
"The Arab countries involved in Vienna
Declaration will definitely support that complicated track."
Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia deals firmly and
seriously with these interference's, adding that it was also the responsibility
of the Arab League in light of its objectives to protect the Arab nation and
maintain the Arab national security, peoples and capabilities.
Al-Jubeir stressed that the Arab League Council is
to assume its responsibility and deal with these interference's in accordance
with the Charter of the Arab League.
Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi called to take Arab collective
stance aiming to halt Iranian interference's in the Arab internal affairs.
He stressed Arab full support for the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia's proceedings in order to maintain security and sovereignty.
He confirmed that the meeting reflected the Arab
solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and condemnation of attacks on the
Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.