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Bahraini Minister: GCC Has Unified Strategy for Dealing with Nuclear Crisis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- Bahrain’s Interior Minister Staff Lt Gen sheikh Rashid Bin-Abdullah Al Khalifa told Asharq al-Awsat that the Gulf States have agreed on a unified strategy for dealing with any possible nuclear crisis in the region, and that they seek to play a regional role in this context. He warned of the consequences of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Gulf region because the threat to use such weapons in any regional conflict will cause harm to the region. He pointed out that although the Gulf States are not party to the conflict, they will be affected by any such development because they are located in the arena of the struggle.

The Bahraini interior minister, whose country recently hosted a scientific conference on the dangers and repercussions of nuclear proliferation in the Gulf region, said that the Gulf States are aware of the danger of any possible nuclear crisis in the region. He said these states are acting to preserve security and stability despite the challenges and difficulties created by current developments. He pointed to the Gulf States’ joint endeavor to play a distinguished regional role by following two courses of action. He said the first course of action addresses the domestic level and focuses the light on the hazards of nuclear proliferation to the regional countries as well as its dangers to security, environment and the economic and political situations. This course also entails strengthening the means of addressing these dangers through joint efforts, coordination, and the exchange of expertise. He called on the regional countries to focus attention on the nuclear issue and to exert persistent efforts and to enhance their cooperation on the local and regional levels in the forthcoming stage.

The Bahraini interior minister said that the second course of action focuses on making moves on the external level and on adopting diplomatic means to address the issues pertinent to nuclear proliferation through the proposals put forward in international forums and within the framework of relations with friendly countries. He said that efforts must be exerted to prevent resorting to escalation so that the crisis can be settled through dialogue and understanding.

The Bahraini Interior Minister underlined that the Gulf Cooperation Council states bear in mind all the fears being raised about the repercussions of the escalation of the situation between Tehran and the West. He noted that the escalation is still confined to diplomacy. He stressed that “because the Gulf States are concerned about their security in particular and the security of the region in general, they take a unified stand on this crisis based on keeping the Arab Gulf region away from conflicts and free of all types of weapons of mass destruction. These states want to avoid the crisis escalating to a direct confrontation between Iran and the West, which will not serve security and stability in the region.” At the same time, he stressed, the Gulf states fear being caught in the conflict between nuclear powers.

The Bahraini interior minister said that there are countries in the region as well as neighing countries that have nuclear weapons while others seek to possess nuclear capabilities. He added that “in light of this situation, the Gulf states find themselves in direct confrontation with environmental and economic dangers and challenges as a result of the possession of both peaceful and military nuclear technology.” He pointed out that if the Iranian nuclear program is devoted to peaceful purposes, there is no threat and there is nothing to prevent Iran or any other country from contemplating securing new sources of energy.