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Arab League Chief: Dialogue With Iran, Turkey is Futile

Arab League Chief: Dialogue With Iran, Turkey is Futile

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019 - 12:15
Arab League Sec-Gen Ahmed Aboul Gheit (File Photo: Reuters)

The core of the problem of the relations between Arab countries and Turkey and Iran is that both countries have a political project they want to carry out outside their borders, precisely in the Arab region, said Arab League Sec-Gen Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a seminar on “building a unified strategy to deal with neighbors” organized by the Arab Parliament, Aboul Gheit noted that it took Arabs a lot of time to discuss Arabs’ relations with neighboring countries in depth, beyond current events or emergent issues.

The Sec-Gen reiterated the importance of the meeting that deliberates the relations with neighboring countries, expressing with certainty that a healthy and correct relationship starts from sound foundations. He added that this issue should be a major priority on the Arab agenda.

Aboul Gheit pointed out that dialogue remains the shortest and best way to handle all issues in a manner that meets everyone’s needs and interests.

He noted that the crisis with Iran and Turkey has aggravated over the past period to the point that holding dialogue with them has become futile.

The Sec-Gen said Iran and Turkey's expansion policies are behind their current crisis with Arab countries. He referred to the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum established in 2007, which held 5 ministerial sessions before it ended in 2013.

He said Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries has become a main topic on the agenda of the Arab League Council since 2015.

“We see today the threats Iran and its wings are posing to Arab and world security as regards safety of global navigation and commercial routes.”

Aboul Gheit explained that Iran considers the Arab region an open “terra nullius” for its expansion project and gives itself the right to interfere in the crises of some Arab countries. Tehran sometimes seeks to flare up crises in the Arab region to carry out its political project that threatens to drive the region into an ethnic conflict, according to the Sec-Gen.

Regarding Turkey, Aboul Gheit said Ankara seeks to promote its own ideologies and political Islam, giving itself the right to invade neighboring countries on the pretext of protecting its own national security without any consideration to other countries' sovereignty.

Both the Turkish and Iranian projects see ongoing crises in the region as a chance for more expansion, noted Aboul Gheit.

In addition, Aboul Gheit said Arab-European dialogue has been going on since the 70s based on the common interests and institutional frameworks at the Mediterranean and European levels. He lauded the importance of the first Arab-European summit held in February in Sharm el-Sheikh which paved the way for a frank and constructive dialogue.

The Sec- Gen also addressed Israel saying if Tel Aviv agreed to set up an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, it will be accepted in the region as a normal regional party which is the core of the Arab Peace Initiative.

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