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Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed AI Nahyan: When is Iran going to give us back our islands in the Gulf?

We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue its co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community to allay fears and doubts raised on the nature and the purposes of its nuclear programme. We also call upon the respective parties to continue their political and diplomatic approach away from any escalations or emotions so that a peaceful agreement that ensures the security and stability of the countries of the region can be reached.

The goal of achieving security and stability in the Gulf region is a vital priority to the UAE's balanced foreign policy. This policy draws its principles from the UN charter and the provisions of international law, particularly those calling for peaceful co-existence, promotion of confidence-building measures, good neighbourliness and mutual respect, non-intervention in the internal affairs of states and the peaceful settlement of existing differences.

Hence, the UAE renews its disappointment at the continued occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of the three UAE islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, since 1971. The UAE demands the return of these islands under its full sovereignty, including their regional waters, airspace, continental shelf and their exclusive economic zone, as integral parts of the UAE. The UAE also affirms that all military and administrative measures taken by the Iranian government in these islands are null and void.

The UAE also affirms that these measures do not have any legal effect, regardless of how long the occupation may last. In this context, we call upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to the peaceful and sincere initiatives of the UAE. These initiatives were supported and adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as the League of Arab States. They call for a just settlement of this issue.

We hope that the Iranian government will respond positively and fairly. This is in order to strengthen neighbourly relations, enhance co-operation and promote common interests between our two countries. This would achieve security, stability and prosperity in the region as a whole.

Taken from a statement to the United Nations by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates