Iran ready to help resolve crisis among regional Arab states: Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (3rd L) and his Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Messahel (2nd R) meet in Algiers on June 18, 2017.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (3rd L) and his Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Messahel (2nd R) meet in Algiers on June 18, 2017.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed concern over the deteriorating crisis involving Qatar and some other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, saying Tehran is ready to help resolve the crisis.

“We are concerned about the escalation of the situation between Qatar and its neighbors and believe that dialog is the best way [to resolve the issue]. We are also ready to help [the sides] in this regard,” Zarif said in a meeting with Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel in Algiers on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the Maldives, and Egypt recently broke off ties with Qatar. In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, the four countries cited Qatar’s links with Hamas and accused it of supporting terrorism, an accusation that the Qatari government denies.

The regional countries also blocked their transit routes to Qatar and ordered most of Qatari nationals to leave. The measures have also made family visits difficult. Qatar Airways has also been banned from using the airspace of the Saudi-led bloc of countries.

Zarif also referred to terrorism as the “main problem in the region” and stressed the importance of fighting the phenomenon by establishing genuine democracy.

The Iranian foreign minister added that all countries must attach importance to the battle against extremism, saying, “We all should help find a solution and not impose a solution. We cannot determine a solution for people from different countries.”

He emphasized that foreign intervention was the main reason behind the prolongation and complication of the crises in the region.

The top Iranian diplomat warned that Zionists and extremists were abusing the regional conflicts and said, “Iran is not going to fall into the trap of [such] conspiracies.”

Need for dialog to settle differences

The Algerian foreign minister, for his part, said his country believed that regional countries must settle their differences through dialog.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune meet in Algiers on June 18, 2017.

Messahel added that Algeria pursued an independent policy on countries, noting that as a victim of terrorism, his country prioritized the fight against terrorists.

He also expressed hope that the dispute among some Arab countries would be solved through dialog.

Heading a high-ranking political delegation, Zarif arrived in Algiers on Sunday on the first leg of a two-day official visit to three North African countries which would also take him to Mauritania and Tunisia.

Later on Sunday, the top Iranian diplomat held talks with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune behind closed doors.

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