Gulf states urge Iran to cooperate fully on nuclear deal

AFP , Wednesday 27 Nov 2013

Gulf Arab states called on Iran on Wednesday to fully cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog in implementing a landmark deal with major powers.

Foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, which include leading supporters of the rebels in Syria, also urged quick action to end the conflict and expressed hope that a peace conference planned for January will help lead to a settlement.

In a joint statement issued after a one-day meeting in Kuwait City, the ministers called on Iran to "fully cooperate" with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in implementing the agreement it reached with six major powers on Sunday.

"We express our comfort at this deal, hoping that it will be a prelude for a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear file," the ministers said, referring to the interim nature of the deal reached at the weekend.

Under the agreement, which lasts for six months while negotiators bid for a lasting settlement, Iran undertook to curb parts of its nuclear programme in return for some relief from Western sanctions.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states have long been concerned about Shia Iran's regional ambitions and, while their governments publicly welcomed the nuclear agreement, much of the Gulf press voiced misgivings.

The deal was struck between Iran and the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- but the job of overseeing its implementation falls largely to the IAEA in coordination with the group.

The Gulf ministers called for the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, scheduled for 22 January, to be "held quickly to help reach a political settlement."

They strongly condemned the continuing "bloodshed" in Syria and the "use of internationally banned weapons against civilians."

Gulf Arab states, like many Western governments, blame forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad for a series of gas attacks in August that prompted a UN agreement to dismantle his regime's chemical arsenal.

The ministers were meeting to prepare the agenda for a GCC summit in Kuwait City next month.

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