(MENAFN - Arab News) GCC foreign ministers held an extraordinary meeting here yesterday and condemned as "provocative" a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the UAE island of Abu Mousa, which is occupied by Tehran.
The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council "strongly condemn the Iranian president's visit to Abu Musa, which is a provocative act and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands," they said in a joint statement.
"Any aggression on the sovereignty or interference in the internal affairs of a member country would be considered as an attack on all member countries and interference in their affairs," the statement said, adding that Ahmadinejad's Abu Musa visit contradicted good neighborly policies.
The GCC asked Iran "end its occupation of the three UAE islands - Abu Mousa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs - and respond to calls by the UAE to find a peaceful and just solution through negotiations or by resorting to the International Court of Justice."
The GCC ministers pledged their "full support to the UAE in all actions it takes to regain its rights and sovereignty over the three islands." Ahmadinejad's visit to Abu Mousa would not change historical and legal facts that affirm the UAE's sovereignty over them, they added.
The meeting emphasized that the relations between countries on the Gulf region should be based on mutual respect for their sovereignty and non-interference in their internal affairs.
The UAE has summoned Iran's ambassador to Abu Dhabi to denounce Ahmadinejad's visit to Abu Musa.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan warned on Monday that if left unresolved, the issue "could jeopardize international security and peace."
This was followed by a warning from Ahmadinejad who said Tuesday that Iran will respond with force to any threats to its territorial integrity.
"The armed forces and the army will inflict heavy regret and shame in case of any aggression against Iranian lands and interests," Ahmadinejad said, adding that Iran "is ready to protect its existence and sovereignty."
Abu Dhabi has also recalled its ambassador to Tehran and lodged a protest with the United Nations over Ahmadinejad's visit, stressing that the territorial dispute should be resolved in talks or at the International Court of Justice.
On Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah met ambassadors representing UN Security Council member states in Abu Dhabi to convey the "UAE's condemnation of this provocative visit," UAE's official news agency, WAM, said.