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Bahrain backs Iran-Arab dialog mediated by Kuwait

Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:39AM
Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifah (Photo by AFP)

Bahrain says talks between Iran and Persian Gulf Arab countries mediated by Kuwait are to continue, hoping they would bring about positive results. 

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifah made the remarks during a visit to Kuwait on Sunday, reports said.

The two sides have been taking a number of goodwill steps towards the realization of dialog between Tehran and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Kuwait has been relaying reciprocal messages between them.

“Bahrain supports the endeavors made by the Kuwaiti emir for joint consultations with Tehran,” Sheikh Khaled said, according to IRNA.

He said political talks with Iran are continuing, adding “Manama hopes that these consultations be followed by positive results,” the news agency added.

According to the Kuwaiti foreign minister, an upcoming GCC meeting will receive a report on developments in relations with Iran.

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah visited Tehran in late January, bearing a message from the GCC. The message reportedly described a “basis of dialog” between the organization’s Arab states and the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani afterwards responded to the message and went on a short trip to Kuwait and Oman.

This picture released on February 15, 2017 shows Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R) meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) in Kuwait City. (Photo by AFP)

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Relations between Tehran and some of the GCC countries have suffered over the past two years amid reciprocal accusations of involvement in regional conflicts, most notably in Syria and Yemen.

Tehran has denounced Saudi and Qatari support for Takfiri militants, waging wars in Syria and Iraq as well as Riyadh’s attacks on Yemen for more than two years now.

The Saudi kingdom, on the other hand, has been critical of Iran’s support for Syria which is fighting foreign-backed militants and accused Tehran of supporting Houthi fighters in Yemen, which the Islamic Republic denies.

Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic ties with Iran last January after angry protests were held outside its diplomatic missions in the Islamic Republic against the kingdom’s execution of top Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Bahrain, which also accuses Iran of meddling in its affairs, followed suit and several other Riyadh allies downgraded their ties with the Islamic Republic.

Tehran has rejected Manama’s claims, and advised it to improve its human rights situation on the tiny island where protests against the regime have been going on for years.

Despite tensions, the Islamic Republic has welcomed the prospect of détente, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying on February 7 that Iran was ready for cooperation with all countries, especially its neighbors.

On Sunday, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry expressed hope that Arab talks with Iran would get off the ground in the near future.

Deputy Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah hailed the outcome of Rouhani’s visit to the emirate, saying the trip served to form the basis for the amenable circumstances required for dialog.

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