Riyadh – Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad bin Mohammed al-Khalifa said on Thursday that big problems persist between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Iran, adding that the council’s doors were open to Tehran on the principle of good neighborliness, respect of states’ sovereignty, noninterference in their internal affairs and rejection of sectarianism.
Speaking after a GCC Ministerial Council in its 142nd Session held at the headquarters of the GCC Secretariat General in Riyadh under the chairmanship of Bahrain, Al-Khalifa told Asharq Al-Awsat that GCC countries heard from the Iranian side some suggestions concerning disputed issues existing between both sides. He described those suggestions as “not very deep and indirect.”
He said GCC foreign ministers would send a report in this regard to the council’s head of states during their next meeting. “We hope to achieve something in this regard,” Al-Khalifa said.
The Bahraini foreign minister, also Chairman of the GCC’s current session, called on Iranians to extend their hands to the region.
“The region had always stretched its hand, but, in several issues, we have not seen any response from Iran.”
Al-Khalifa added that relations with Iran were not good. “There are several disputed issues between us and the Iranians concerning the region, such as fighting terrorism, the interference in the affairs of Arab states and the support of Iranian-linked terrorist groups. But, we do not close the doors… We should seek to establish better relations,” he said.
The Bahraini foreign minister also confirmed the unchanged stances of GCC states regarding the Yemeni file, adding that their target is to reach a pure Yemeni solution, achieved by Yemenis in the benefit of their country, with the support of the GCC through the legitimate government of Yemen.
He said GCC states mainly object the fact that Houthi militias were receiving support from Iran.
“Yemen should be spared from any external interference. GCC states support this demand and won’t change their position,” he noted.