Shaikh Abdullah attends the ministerial meeting of GCC member states in Jeddah on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, on Wednesday condemned in strongest possible terms a visit made by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the UAE’s island of Abu Mousa, occupied by Iran since 1971.

Shaikh Abdullah blasted the visit as a “flagrant violation” of the UAE’s sovereignty over its territories and a “setback’’ to all efforts and attempts the UAE is making to find a peaceful settlement to Iran’s occupation of the three UAE islands — Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa — either through direct negotiations or resorting to the International Court of Justice.

“This visit will not change the legal status of these islands which are part and parcel of the UAE national soil,” Shaikh Abdullah emphasised.

He asserted the visit and the provocative rhetoric of the Iranian president expose Iran’s false allegations regarding its keenness to establish good relations of neighbourhood and friendship with the UAE and countries of the region.

Breach of agreement

Shaikh Abdullah denounced the timing of the visit, saying it comes at a time when the two countries agreed to exert more joint efforts to turn this page by reaching a solution to the issue, and at a time the UAE has committed to what both countries had agreed out of its desire to create a conducive environment for reaching a solution that enhances stability in the region.

The visit, he said, was a gross breach of this agreement.

Shaikh Abdullah called on Iran to take measures and stances that strengthen confidence between countries and peoples of the region and refrain from such provocative measures which muddy relations between the two countries and damage efforts aimed at finding a fair solution to the issue of the three occupied islands.