HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani is seen with other GCC interior ministers after attending a meeting in Manama yesterday.


United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed on a rare visit to Iran yesterday called for a partnership with Iran.

Improving relations with regional countries is a central plank of Iran’s diplomatic policy under its new President, Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif, who will visit Kuwait and Oman next week.

“We are neighbours but do not confine ourselves to this and are calling to be partners,” Sheikh Abdullah was quoted as saying by Iran’s official Irna news agency.

Zarif, speaking after the meeting with Sheikh Abdullah, who also met President Rohani, said peace would benefit everybody in the region.

“We see the progress of countries in the region as a success and any type of danger as a threat to them. Security and development cannot be separated and we see relations with regional countries as taking this form,” Irna quoted him as saying.

They made no mention of a long-standing dispute between the two countries over the ownership of a small group of Gulf islands.

Zarif was quoted on Wednesday by Kuwait’s state news agency as saying he would visit Kuwait and Oman next week.

He added he also planned to visit Saudi Arabia but had not yet set a date. On Tuesday, Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said he wanted better relations with Saudi Arabia in an interview with the Financial Times.

Rohani and Zarif have stressed greater regional stability as a priority.

After they met in Kuwait on Wednesday, GCC foreign ministers said they hoped the deal would lead to a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear crisis, but that this would require goodwill.

Yesterday Bahrain’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifah said Iran’s Gulf neighbours needed assurances that the nuclear deal would enhance regional security.

He said Gulf states wanted to be certain the accord “would not be at the expense of the security of any of the (Gulf Co-operation) Council.”




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