Thursday, 16 January, 2020

UAE says it prefers diplomacy over conflict with Iran

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the UAE and Saudi Arabia prefer a political approach to their problems with Iran.

Emphasizing continued cooperation between the two Arab countries, Gargash tweeted on August 2 that the two states believe in a political approach rather than confrontation with Iran.

The UAE official accused Qatar of trying to take political advantage of the meeting between Iranian and UAE coastguard officials, which took place on July 30, RFE/RL reported. 

Previously, some regional media reported a change in UAE’s position regarding Iran. The Anadolu News Agency in Turkey had also reported that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, has called for a change in Emirati policy vis-à-vis Iran.

IRNA reported that a delegation from the UAE Coastguard met with Iranian counterparts to discuss border security, illegal crossings, fishing rights and shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

Sign of Change 

The meeting between Iran and the UAE coastguard officials was interpreted by some as a sign of change in the UAE’s policy toward Iran.

The situation in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz has been extremely volatile in recent weeks as evidenced by attacks on oil tankers and the downing of a US drone by Iran in response to its violation of the country’s airspace.

In another development, while reports from Iran and the rest of the region said the UAE has withdrawn from the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi fighters in Yemen, Gargash said developments regarding UAE forces’ move from Yemen have taken place in coordination with Saudi Arabia.

The UAE has moved out a large part of its forces from Yemen in late June, giving rise to speculations about its withdrawal from the Saudi-led coalition.

Dubai, one of Iran’s leading trading partners in the region and a major hub for exports to Iran, has suffered losses as a result of US sanctions on Tehran. 

According to a Reuters report, things have been changing in Dubai’s Murshid Bazaar, once frequented by Iranian businessmen. Businesses have closed and properties are up for rent after Iranians abandoned the market.

Also, the insecurity in Persian Gulf as a result of tensions between Iran and the United States has affected business. Four of the attacks on oil tankers have taken place off the coast of the UAE.

In the meantime, a policy shift about Iran may have taken place on a wider scale in the region. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main adversary in the region, has been mysteriously silent about Tehran in the past month.

During the same period, some Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have expressed readiness for a rapprochement with Riyadh.

Zarif said on Wednesday that “Iran is prepared for dialogue, if Saudi Arabia is also ready.”

Via: Financialtribune

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