Egypt: “Iran should keep out of affairs of Arab states”

27 Nov 2010

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Iran should keep out of the internal affairs of Arab countries in the Gulf and not meddle in Iraq and Lebanon, Egypt’s foreign minister said on Friday in a Qatari newspaper.

“Iranian interventions in the internal affairs of the Gulf must not be allowed,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit told Al-Sharq newspaper. “We say to our brothers in Iran … Iraq must be left alone and Lebanon must be left alone. And Iran should not intrude in Bahrain in any way,” said Abul Gheit.

“The security of Gulf countries comes first, and Egypt gives it much of its attention,” said the minister, who accompanied President Hosni Mubarak on a Doha visit which ended on Thursday. Abul Gheit also called for a diplomatic solution between Iran and the international community on its nuclear programme which has raised concern in the West and among some Arab countries.

“Egypt is aware and knows that Iran has a problem with the Western world,” he said. “The settlement of Western-Iranian problems must be achieved via diplomatic and political means, away from military action and war.”

In September, Mubarak warned of “new dangers that are emerging in the Gulf region and threaten its stability,” in an apparent allusion to Iran.

Western countries and Israel suspect Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme to hide efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, a source of concern for Arab neighbours despite Tehran’s repeated denials. Mainly Sunni Muslim countries in the Arab world, such as Saudi Arabia, are also concerned about Shiite Iran’s support for the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. Tehran-Cairo ties have been severed since 1980 following the Islamic revolution in Iran and Egypt’s recognition of Israel. The two countries have since only maintained interest sections in each other’s capitals.

source: AFP

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