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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Prominent UAE businessman urges UN to identify the Gulf as Arab

If prominent UAE businessman Khalaf al-Habtoor has his way semantics will be the next battleground in escalating tensions between Iran and the Gulf states.

Mr. Habtoor has asked United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts, Amr Moussa and Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in a letter obtained by Al Arabiya to officially refer to the Gulf as the Arabian Gulf.

In making his request, Mr. Habtoor appears to be seeking to rekindle a long-standing dispute between Iran and the Gulf states over the correct reference to the region. The dispute has persuaded much of the world over the years in deference to the controversy to back away from calling the region the Persian Gulf and instead simply referring to it as the Gulf.

Mr. Habtoor argued in his letter that reference to the region as the Persian Gulf was obsolete. “I think most members of the council agree about this,” he wrote. “We rely on present facts and realities that reflect history. The vast majority of Gulf people are Arabs, both from the Arab countries overlooking the Arab Gulf or from the areas controlled by Iran,” he added in a reference to the Iranian province of Khuzestan that is predominantly populated by Iranians of Arab origin.

Mr. Habtoor’s proposal is likely to be politely rejected by Mr. Ban. The United Nations has enough Middle Eastern issues on its plate, including Iran’s nuclear development and the brutal suppression of anti-government protests in various Arab states, to want to take on another hot potato.


continue reading : http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/05/14/149077.html


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