AFP: The United Arab Emirates and Germany said on Sunday that Iran must do more to allay the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme or fresh sanctions would be likely. By Deborah Cole
ABU DHABI (AFP) — The United Arab Emirates and Germany said on Sunday that Iran must do more to allay the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme or fresh sanctions would be likely.
Following a meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said he hoped Iran would cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.
"We are very concerned about Iran's non-transparent behaviour with regard to its nuclear programme," he said after talks with his visiting German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle.
"That is based on its lack of cooperation with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). We want more active cooperation from Iran. That would be in the interests of the world, the region and Iran itself."
Sheikh Abdullah noted that the UN Security Council could soon pass a fourth round of sanctions to try to force Iran to abandon sensitive nuclear work, which the West fears is a cover for an atomic weapons programme.
Tehran denies wanting to acquire a nuclear bomb.
"We hope that Iran will behave so cooperatively that sanctions will not be necessary," the UAE foreign minister said.
"We in the United Arab Emirates as a neighbour state are particularly affected by what Iran is targeted by but also everything it does."
He added that his country could serve as an "example" for the transparent use of nuclear energy, pointing to a 20.4-billion-dollar deal with South Korea to build four nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates.
Westerwelle, who is on a tour of Gulf states and whose country is one of six working to convince Tehran to cooperate with the IAEA, said he and Abdullah were in "broad agreement."
The ministers also discussed the security of Yemen amid reports that Westerwelle planned to visit the strife-ridden country on Monday, and negotiations to end a continuing hostage crisis there.
Westerwelle declined to comment directly on either issue.
"The hostage-taking is of course a barbaric act that we condemn," he said, referring to a German family of five and a Briton who were abducted in Yemen last June.
"We are doing everything we can to allow the hostages to return to their loved ones," he said, but declined to discuss specifics.
On Yemen, Westerwelle said: "I would not like to talk about travel plans at this time for various reasons."
Delegation sources also said they would not confirm the reports.
Long-standing concerns that Yemen has become a haven for Islamic militants were thrown into sharp focus when a Nigerian man allegedly trained in Yemen was charged with trying to blow up a US-bound jet on December 25.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed the botched attack and has called for attacks on Western interests in Yemen.
Germany is by far the largest European contributor of development aid to Yemen with some 79 million euros (114 million dollars) earmarked for the impoverished country for 2010-2011.
During talks earlier on Sunday in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani, and the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Westerwelle also discussed Yemen.
Sources said the emir and Westerwelle agreed that a lasting solution to the internal conflicts on its borders, with a Shiite rebellion in the north and the rise of a secessionist movement in the south, could only come through dialogue.