Iran proposes new regional forum for Gulf

In a diplomatic initiative to address the lingering conflicts and mistrust in the Gulf region, Iran on Wednesday proposed a new platform for regional peace-building. Delivering a major speech at the Raisina Dialogue here, its foreign minister Javad Zarif said such a forum should offer membership to countries based on a set of general principles to address real issues that affect people of the region and the world.

About the proposed Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum:

The announcement of Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum is significant as it comes in the wake of the continued erosion of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which in the recent years has been divided between the Iranian and the Saudi spheres.

The new forum could focus on the promotion of peace and prosperity in the region. Such a forum should offer membership to countries based on a set of general principles to address real issues that affect people of the region and the world.

Admission to such a forum should be based on accepting generally-recognized principles and shared objectives, notably respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of all states. The forum should render international boundaries inviolable and use of force impermissible.

Agenda of the forum: It could connect people of various member countries cutting across all traditional boundaries.

Such a forum shall be helpful in dealing with threats like terrorism and extremism that has left the countries of the region in a state of the continuous state of insecurity.

The member countries will have to follow a set of confidence-building measures. These measures could include freedom of navigation, assurance of free flow of energy and other resources and protection of the fragile marine ecology of the Gulf.

About GCC:

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

The GCC was established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. The purpose of the GCC is to achieve unity among its members based on their common objectives and their similar political and cultural identities, which are rooted in Arab and Islamic cultures. Presidency of the council rotates annually.

All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain), two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates, which is composed of seven member states, each of which is an absolute monarchy with its own emir).

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