Gulf states schedule special meeting over Iran-UAE island dispute
Source: L.A. Times
TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Foreign ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are scheduled to meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh following a visit by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to a disputed island earlier this week in a move that has sparked a diplomatic spat between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran.
A UAE official said the special meeting, to be held Wednesday, was requested by the UAE after Ahmadinejad went to the island of Abu Musa, according to media reports. The six-nation GCC bloc consists of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Abu Musa is one of three islands that both Iran and the UAE claim. Iran took control of the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb -- all located near important shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz -- back in 1971, as the Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and British forces were withdrawn.
GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani has denounced Ahmadinejad's visit to Abu Musa. In a statement, he called it a "clear violation of UAE sovereignty" and said it was "an irresponsible provocation and is not in line with the GCC policy of maintaining good neighborly relations with Iran," according to media reports.