Gulf states to meet Tuesday on UAE-Iran island row

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 15, 2012 5:58 PM
Gulf states to meet Tuesday on UAE-Iran island row

DUBAI (Reuters) - Gulf Arab states will meet in Qatar on Tuesday to discuss a territorial dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over a small island in the Strait of Hormuz that both claim, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said on Sunday.

The UAE recalled its ambassador from Tehran on Wednesday after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Abu Musa island, 60 km (40 miles) off the UAE, as part of a tour of Iran's Gulf coast, a visit described by the UAE foreign minister as "a flagrant violation of the UAE's sovereignty."

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash submitted a letter of complaint over the matter to the Iranian ambassador late on Sunday, state news agency WAM said.

A statement from the GCC gave the time and location of Tuesday's meeting without details of its agenda.

"This will be an extraordinary meeting based on the UAE's request to discuss the Iranian president's recent visit to the island," a GCC official told Reuters separately.

A source familiar with preparations for had previously said it would be held on Wednesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Both countries claim Abu Musa and two other small islands, located near the key shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf. Iran took control of the islands in 1971, shortly before the Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and formed the UAE.

The islands are valued for their strategic position in the Strait of Hormuz and for their potential oil reserves.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Tim Pearce)