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Saudi Arabia Blasts Iran Over Ahmadinejad's Visit To Disputed Island

Saudi Arabia has termed as a flagrant violation of UAE sovereignty the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the disputed Persian Gulf island of Abu Musa under Iranian occupation.

The Saudi Cabinet on Monday said Ahmadinejad's visit to the island invalidated the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute through direct negotiations or taking the issue to the International Court of Justice, media reports said.

UAE has recalled its Ambassador to Tehran in protest against Ahmadinejad's visit to the island on Wednesday last, the first by an Iranian President after its occupation since 1971.

Both countries have staked claim over Abu Musa and two other small islands, located near strategic shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The islands have been under Iranian occupation since 1971, shortly before the seven Gulf Emirates gained independence from Britain and formed the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan has said that Ahmadinejad's visit "is a flagrant violation of UAE sovereignty over its territory and a transgression of efforts to find a peaceful settlement to end Iranian occupation of the three UAE islands." Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani has also decried the Iranian leader's visit as "provocative" and a violation of UAE sovereignty.

Dismissing the UAE protest, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said last week that Ahmadinejad's visit was an "internal Iranian matter." He said Iran was determined to improve bilateral ties and was ready for a dialog with the UAE to resolve "possible misunderstandings."

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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