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UK urges GCC to play bigger role in addressing regional issues

Britain’s foreign secretary says he hopes Arabian Gulf countries will play a bigger role in addressing regional issues such as curtailing the influence of ISIL and Iran.

Philip Hammond was in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for a one-day visit and had a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Mr Hammond said he had a “long and thought-provoking discussion about the region” with Sheikh Mohammed.

He also voiced his hope that the “Arab voices of the Gulf will play a louder and more prominent role in the post-ISIL settlement in Iraq” as well as “to counter the influence of Iran in that country”.

The GCC has long expressed concern about Tehran’s interference in the Arabian Gulf’s affairs.

“Although the nuclear deal has been a success and Iran has abandoned its nuclear aspirations, that does not mean it has stopped interfering in the region,” Mr Hammond said.

“It does not mean Iran has stopped sponsoring terrorism and it does not mean it has stopped illegal missile testing, and all of those things remain a major problem.

“We will continue to challenge Iran when it is doing any of those things and I think this is the position of our Gulf partners.”

On Yemen, the UK foreign secretary said the peace talks in Kuwait would have to lead to a settlement. “We [Britain and the UAE] work very closely together on defence, security and intelligence matters and we will continue to do so,” he said.

Courtesy: The National

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