Ex-Qatari PM urges dialogue between Iran, Persian Gulf Arab nations

Qatar’s former prime minister called for dialogue between Persian Gulf Arab nations and Iran to ease regional tensions.

“We must not hesitate to open this dialogue because it will help settle the many tensions around us,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani said in series of tweets on Saturday.

Sheikh Hamad noted that difference of opinion should not prevent Persian Gulf Arab nations from “opening dialogue with Iran”.

“We know that there are different points of view between us and Iran on many issues. But this should not prevent the opening of dialogue with Iran,” he said. “We are cooperating with countries with which we do not agree on many things.”

The former premier said “such dialogue may end tensions” in the region and “enhance confidence” between the two banks of the Persian Gulf.

He noted “the opportunity exists for this dialogue” with the arrival of a new administration in the United States under Joe Biden and a reconciliation agreement between Qatar and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.

“I advise that we seize it and not bet on the current tension between America and Iran, especially with the presence of the Biden administration. We need to develop a plan on all levels without ill-advised gambling,” Sheikh Hamad said.

He stressed that talks between Iran and its Arab neighbors “could achieve important results”.

On Tuesday, the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council held a meeting in the Saudi city of Al-Ula during which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt on the one side, and Qatar on the other agreed to resume diplomatic relations, Press TV wrote.

The quartet severed ties with Qatar in 2017, faulting Doha’s favorable stance toward Iran, accusing it of supporting “terrorism” due to its backing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, while claiming that Doha was sowing regional instability.

Last month, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also called for dialogue between Iran and Persian Gulf littoral states, saying Doha welcomes any initiative that would contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The Persian Gulf crisis should be resolved through “dialogue, respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states,” he said.

Iran has backed talks and diplomacy as the viable solution to the persisting diplomatic row in the Persian Gulf, expressing hope that the reconciliation will contribute to the stability as well as the political and economic development of the regional nations.

Tehran has already unveiled an initiative aimed at establishing peace in the region.

Iran’s peace initiative to promote security in the Persian Gulf, dubbed Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE), was unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani during his speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2019. The Iranian president invited all regional countries to participate in the initiative.

Back in October, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed the importance of implementing the HOPE initiative, and called for collective cooperation among neighbors to establish “inclusive dialogue and security networking” in the region.

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