Manama: The GCC-Iran strategic dialogue is stalled, and will not resume until Tehran changes its attitudes, Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister has said.
“Kuwait has told the Iranians the resumption of the dialogue depends on Iran’s initiatives and commitment to natural relations with its neighbours,” Khalid Al Jarallah said. “As long as these requirements are not satisfactorily fulfilled, the dialogue is postponed,” he told reporters on Monday evening as he attended a reception in the capital Kuwait City.
The GCC countries in December 2016 agreed at their summit in Manama to convey an offer to Iran to start a strategic dialogue that would improve relations that had plummeted to their lowest levels in decades and ensure the security and stability of the region.
Kuwait has told the Iranians the resumption of the dialogue depends on Iran’s initiatives and commitment to natural relations with its neighbours.”
- Khalid Al Jarallah | Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister
The GCC insisted Iran end its interference in their domestic affairs and act like a good neighbour in order to move forward towards better ties and greater cooperation.
Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah in January 2017 sent the offer to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Tehran said it welcomed the idea of dialogue.
Iran’s response was later forwarded to GCC leaders amid hopes Tehran would move towards healthier relations with their countries.
However, Iran’s insistence on interfering in the domestic affairs of its neighbours, the crises resulting from taking opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen, and the subsequent gravity of the tensions have ruled out any hope for a thaw that would allow the dialogue to move forward.
Two of the GCC countries, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, in January 2016 cut off diplomatic ties with their neighbour across the Arabian Gulf following attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and general consulate in the northern city of Mashhad.
In his statements, Al Jarallah said the Kuwait-Iran dialogue had not been discontinued, but added the joint committees were not activated.
No date for the committees to resume their work has been decided yet, he said.
Kuwait in 2015 uncovered the “Abdali cell”, seizing a cache of guns and explosives, after security forces raided a farmhouse in Abdali on the outskirts of Kuwait City.
Kuwait said the cell was trying to destabilise the country on behalf of Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.