In Oman, Rouhani extends hand to Persian Gulf monarchies

In Oman, Rouhani extends hand to Persian Gulf monarchies
Fri Mar 14, 2014 09:49:37

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sought to mend fences between his country and Persian Gulf monarchies during his visit to Oamn.

Winding up a two-day visit to Oman on Thursday, Rouhani said the Islamic Republic offered “a hand of fraternity to all the countries of the region.”

“Relations with one country should not grow at the expense of another. We want to see the countries of the region live in peace, understanding and friendship,” Rouhani told a business gathering in Muscat.

The sultanate maintains strong links with Iran and has played an important role as mediator between Western countries and Tehran.

But other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which besides Oman also comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have cool relations with Tehran.
“Cooperation and rapprochement would benefit the whole region,” said Rouhani, adding that his country was “open to investors from the region, especially Omanis.”

Oman and Iran are seeking to expand trade, which reached $1 billion last year, and bilateral investments, which they expect will top $10 billion by the end of this year, Iranian Ambassador Ali Akbar Sibeveih said Monday.

Iran and Oman signed a preliminary agreement Wednesday to build a $1 billion, 200-kilometer submarine pipeline to import gas from the Islamic Republic.
In a meeting with university professors, Rouhani denounced “terrorism” and called for dialogue to coordinate the fight against it.

“All differences can be resolved through dialogue,” he said, pointing out that talks had helped end the deadlock in Iran’s nuclear negotiations with Western countries.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also made fresh overtures to the Persian Gulf monarchies.

“Our message to the other countries of the Persian Gulf is a message of friendship, fraternity and cooperation,” Zarif said.

“Iran is ready for strong and fraternal relations with all the states of the region,” said Zarif, who has embarked on a charm offensive toward the Persian Gulf since Rouhani became Iran’s president in August.

In December, he toured Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

In a joint statement issued at the end of Rouhani’s visit, the president and Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos, “stressed on the need to implement cooperation programs and develop relations on all levels.”

BA/BA

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