UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets with the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, in Abu Dhabi on March 16, 2023
(Photo Credit: WAM)
The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, called for Iran and the United Arab Emirates to put their “family differences” aside during the important high-level talks in Abu Dhabi on 16 March.
Shamkhani, who is affiliated with Iran’s top security body, met with UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and stressed that cooperation between the two states – based on goodwill and compromise – is the only way forward.
The two were joined by several senior Emirati officials and discussed “regional and international issues and developments of common concern, and the importance of working to support peace and cooperation in the region,” according to WAM.
“In order to find a way out of the existing challenges, whose continuation does not benefit any country in the region, cooperation, and convergence must replace hostility and divergence,” Shamkhani said.
In addition, the top security official warned that mistrust between the Persian Gulf countries is a major obstacle to economic development and well-being in the region.
“It is necessary to prevent foreigners from playing an unconstructive role and try to enhance the security, calm, and welfare for the people of the region through dialogue, interaction, and the promotion of political, security, economic, and cultural cooperation,” Shamkhani said during the meeting.
“Considering the good grounds that have been prepared since a year ago for the expansion of relations between Iran and the UAE, I regard this trip as a meaningful start for the two countries entering a new stage of political, economic, and security relations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan highlighted the importance of cooperation with Iran and congratulated the country for reaching an agreement with Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties.
Al-Nahyan also stated that restoring the UAE’s relationship with Iran is among the top priorities for the country and highlighted efforts to reach several agreements in the economic, banking, transit, energy, transportation, medical, and investment sectors.
Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh were severed in 2016 after Riyadh executed prominent Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, and Iranian demonstrators attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the eastern city of Mashhad in response.
The UAE followed suit and cut ties with Iran shortly after the incidents unfolded in Iran in 2016 but reinstated its ambassador to Tehran in September 2022 in an effort to settle the dispute.