United Arab Emirates calls on Iran to take dispute over islands to UN court

26 September 2011

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) today called on Iran to either enter into serious, direct talks over three islands which it says are an integral part of UAE territory or refer the issue to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Since the illegitimate occupation of these islands in 1971, the UAE has adopted a flexible diplomatic approach to resolve this matter through peaceful means, through direct bilateral negotiations, or by referring the matter to the International Court of Justice,” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan told the General Assembly.

“The actions taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran with the aim of changing the legal, physical and demographic situation of the islands are null and void and have no legal effect whatsoever,” he said, referring to Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands.

“Those Iranian actions also constitute a violation of international law, and the UN Charter. Therefore, the UAE demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran to enter into serious and direct negotiations between the two countries, or to refer the issue to the International Court of Justice in the light of its continuous illegal occupation of the three islands which are an integral part of the territorial sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates.”

Exercising his right of reply later today, Iran’s representative said the islands were an “eternal part” of Iranian territory and were under Iranian sovereignty, and any attempts to qualify that were wrong.

The territorial dispute was also the subject of a discussion today between the Emirati Foreign Minister and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The two officials also exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria, Yemen and Somalia.


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