Iran foreign minister in UAE over Gulf tension
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 08, 2011, 22:20
Abu Dhabi: Iran's foreign minister held talks on Sunday with top officials in the United Arab Emirates amid tension between Gulf Arab states and Tehran over trouble in Bahrain, Emirati state news agency said.

Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, received Ali Akbar Salehi in the capital Abu Dhabi, WAM said of the previously unannounced visit.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, who has criticised Iran's policy in the region, was present at the meeting, it said.

Sheikh Mohammed praised during the meeting the "wisdom of the Bahraini leadership" in dealing with protests, WAM said, adding that he highlighted the "distinguished links" between Iran and the UAE.

Tension has been running high between Iran and its Arab neighbours across the Gulf, with the two sides locked in a war of words since Shiite-led protests against Bahrain's ruling Sunni dynasty broke out in mid-February.

Iran escalated its criticism of Sunni-ruled Gulf countries after they sent troops into Bahrain to boost the security forces of the government which cracked down on demonstrators in mid-March.

Iranian media said that Salehi reiterated during the talks his call for Gulf troops to be pulled out of Bahrain and to respond to the "legitimate demands" of the Bahraini people.

"The only solution for this crisis is a collective effort based on a wise approach, which includes the exit of foreign troops and giving appropriate response to the legitimate demands of the Bahraini people with preserving Bahrain's sovereignty and independence," Salehi said.

"The entrance of foreign troops into Bahrain and intervention in the internal affairs of this nation has made the situation more complicated and continuation of this policy will only lead to intensifying the crisis," Salehi said.

Last week, Salehi warned while in Qatar of "bad repercussions" from the situation in Bahrain, where authorities are accused of oppressing the Shiite majority.


First Published: Sunday, May 08, 2011, 22:20

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