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Saturday, May 12, 2018

'We don't want nuclear weapons in Iran or Israel'!

  • Iranian intervention in Yemen and Syria discussed at Beirut Institute Summit.
Boosting solidarity, cooperation and self-reliance among the Gulf Cooperation Council member-states and Arab countries is crucial to deal with the Iranian threat, Qatar conflict and to find political solutions in Syria, Yemen and Libya. This was the general consensus shared by senior Arab leaders who gathered in Abu Dhabi on Saturday to discuss and formulate policies for efficient Arab engagement on the global stage.On the first day of the Beirut Institute Summit that convened Arab thought leaders and senior policy makers, Iranian intervention in Yemen and Syria and its growing threat to the regional peace and security topped the discussions.

Commenting on the US President Donald Trump's decision to pull the plug on the Iranian nuclear deal, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of GCC said Trump has given Iran an opportunity to change its aggressive course.

"This is the chance for Iran to shift its path and disarm. Now the ball is in the Iranian court to seize the opportunity and stop meddling in the regional affairs, and stop the supply of ballistic missiles to terrorists," said Al Zayani.

Calling the recent missile attacks on Saudi Arabia a 'serious matter', Zayani said GCC countries have put forth their demands clear and straight. "The International community should support the Arab League and GCC in disarming Iran and establishing peace and security."

Amre Moussa, Former Secretary General of the League of Arab States said while Iran's nuclear ambition should be kept in check, the same is binding on Israel as well. "We do not want nuclear weapons in the Middle East, whether it is Iran or Israel.

Answering a question on Iran's meddling in the Yemen war, Ambasador Abdullah Bishara, former Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council said International pressure is crucial to subjugate Iran. "The facts on the ground are against Iran. If there is joint pressure from the European Union, Security Council, Arab states and International community, Iran will give in. We need both soft diplomacy and strong diplomacy with Iran."

Asked whether the Qatar crisis has destabilised the Gulf Cooperation Council, Zayani said "Currently, the conflict is clear and evident. We are putting our efforts on how to ensure our collaboration is not affected by the conflict."

"There are serious efforts to resolve the crisis," said Zayani highlighting the mediating role played by Kuwait in the regional crisis after Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing it of abetting terrorism.
Syrian War is too complex

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of Arab League, struck a candid note when he said he did see an end to Syrian war in the near future.

"The situation in Syrian is very complex with many external forces in play. I think the Arab League should have mobilised all its political channels and tackled the issue before it spiralled out of control. But we relegated the issue to the UN."

According to him, though the Arab League has all the mechanisms in place to deal with peace initiatives, funding crunch is an impediment. "The entire contributions of the member states to our budget is merely $60 million. That is a big problem."

Asserting the role and importance of Arab institutions in resolving regional conflicts and war, Moussa said boosting cooperation and self-reliance among the member states are crucial.

"The general principle that the GCC has stood by from the very beginning is that an aggression on any member-state is considered as an aggression on all GCC member states. We will stand by that," said Moussa.

By the end of the second day of the conference on May 13, the Summit is expected to issue an 'Abu Dhabi Declaration' outlining practical regional and global strategies for constructing the Arab region's engagement in the emerging future and issue policy guidelines for decision makers in the region.

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