Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
Bahrain 'hoping for better relations with Iran'
Manama, July 1, 2013
Bahrain is ready to "open a new page" in relations with Iran - provided it proves its commitment to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Gulf, said a top government official.
Tehran should also ensure it fully co-operates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its controversial nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
He delivered the message during a Press conference following the 23rd sShaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifaession of the Joint Ministerial Council Meeting between the GCC and the European Union held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
"The GCC states recognise the importance of their ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Shaikh Khalid.
"We first would like to welcome the victory of Hassan Rouhani in the presidential elections that took place recently in Iran."
He said the GCC states looked forward to better relations with Iran, stressing the new president had to make positive steps to achieve stability in the region, with the Iranian nuclear file and the 5+1 talks.
In his opening remarks at yesterday's talks, Shaikh Khalid stressed GCC states were "deeply concerned" by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region, without strict controls.
"We therefore urge Iran to adhere to the principle of transparency, to fully co-operate with the IAEA regarding its nuclear programme and to fully comply with relevant safety and security standards of their nuclear facilities, taking into account the safety of the environment and the people of the wider Arabian Gulf," he said.
The minister said Iran must stop its interfering in the affairs of GCC countries and peacefully end the occupation of three Emirates islands (Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb) or refer the matter to the International Court of Justice.
"Look at the situation in Syria where the physical interference by Iran has escalated and in our region it has a history or interference," he said.
"But we are always looking to open a new page of relations with Iran as it is our close neighbour."
Speaking about plans to put Hizbollah on the terror list and taking action against Lebanon, Shaikh Khalid said: "Lebanon is bigger than Hizbollah and it is a state that is part of the Arab League". "Lebanon will continue to work to tackle this terrorist group." – TradeArabia News Service