Abu Dhabi Talks with Iran are possible, but only if it starts engaging in constructive behaviour in the region, said veteran Saudi diplomat Prince Turki Al Faisal in Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the third Beirut Institute Summit.
“If Iran wants to play a constructive role in the region, then it needs to follow constructive procedures and policies,” said the prince, addressing an audience that included Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and a host of other diplomats and ministers.
“With regards to maritime security and especially the oil rigs and wells belonging to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, what happened recently [with the attacks in Saudi Arabia], Iran cannot be considered to be acting in a positive or constructive way in the region,” he said, alluding to the attacks that were carried out last month on two Saudi oil facilities. The attacks at the time disrupted half of the country’s oil production and led to a surge in global oil prices.
Prince Turki said that GCC countries have previously tried to engage with Iran diplomatically, but said they had received no response in return.
“I do recall a few years back at one of the GCC councils, the GCC countries sent a letter to Iran which included an agenda of points in order to defuse any conflicts. We never got an answer from the Iranians to our letter which was regrettable.”
Dr Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, secretary general of the GCC, also referring to the letter that was sent to Iran, said the outlines laid in the document included respecting national sovereignty and an agreement to not interfere in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries.
“We had an initiative and simple requirements – the first was no meddling in the affairs of Arab affairs or exporting the revolution, and also reaffirming the national citizenship of each country…. These are core principles that can be found in the United Nations Charter.
“Iran currently has the opportunity to rethink its nuclear file, to rethink her policy of meddling in the affairs of Arab countries and to rethink its arsenal of weapons and missiles,” he added.
Al Zayani said that reaching a diplomatic solution with Iran would require an international joint effort involving the US and Europe along with the Gulf states.
“In order to reach that point, it should not only be a Gulf effort, it should be done together with our allies and friends… We all need to agree on what is the danger and what is the risk and threat.
“We are all convinced that Iran’s behaviour should be changed, so if everybody agrees on correcting and redirecting Iran’s policies, I believe that this diplomatic effort can be unified and more influential,” he added.