RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince told a Gulf Arab Summit on Tuesday the nuclear and missile programmes of longstanding adversary Iran should be handled ‘seriously and effectively’ amid global efforts to revive a nuclear pact with Tehran.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, speaking before a closed session of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, also said Riyadh, which has launched its own direct talks with Iran, supported resolving conflict through dialogue.
The summit took place nearly a year after Riyadh put an end to a 3-1/2 – year Arab boycott of GCC member Qatar that had shattered the U.S. – allied grouping, and comes at a time of rising rivalry within the oil – producing bloc.
Closing remarks read by GCC Secretary General Nayef al – Hajraf stressed the importance of joint efforts by Gulf states to face threats and to avoid regional and international conflict.
‘Member states of the (GCC) consider that any attack on any of them is an attack on them all, and any danger that threatens one of them is threatening them all’, he said.
Saudi Arabia and non – Gulf Egypt have restored diplomatic ties with Qatar but the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have yet to do so, though Abu Dhabi has moved to mend fences.
The four boycotting stated had accused Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and meddling in the affairs of Gulf Arab neighbours, charges Doha denied.
‘There are areas that will need some time, but … practical, functional (Gulf) cooperation is back on track’, senior UAE official Anwar Gargash said last week.
Prince Mohammed had visited Gulf states ahead of the summit in a tour aimed at highlighting solidarity as global powers seek to revive a nuclear pact with Iran, amid depending Gulf uncertainty about the U.S. role in the region.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran are vying for influence in a rivalry that has played out across the region in events such as Yemen’s war and in Lebanon, where Iran – backed Hezbollah’s rising has frayed Beirut’s Gulf ties.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile programme and regional proxies, are engaging with Tehran to contain tension.
Iran’s new, hardline president has said his foreign policy priority would be improving ties with Gulf neighbours.
Hajraf told Saudi TV ahead of the summit that Iran should ‘offer indications of good intent’.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have moved away from hawkish foreign policies that saw them wade into Yemen and lead the boycott of Qatar, to a more conciliatory approach as they vie to lure foreign investment, and win over U.S. President Joe Biden.
Abu Dhabi has moved faster to improve ties with Iran and Turkey while also re – engaging with Syria after forging relations with Israel last year.