Union of Arab writers backs UAE claim to occupied islands

The group condemns the occupation of Tunbs and Abu Musa by Iran, expressing solidarity with the Emirates.

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The Permanent Bureau of the General Union of Arab Writers has expressed its solidarity with the UAE over the nation's rights to the three Arabian Gulf islands - the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa.

It condemned the occupation of the islands by Iran, and Tehran's lack of response to repeated demands to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or international arbitration, the state news agency Wam reported yesterday.

The union also denounced the actions of Iran to change the demographic situation on the islands.

The UAE and Iran dispute the ownership of Abu Musa and the Tunbs, which are close to the strategically important shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz.

The roots of the dispute originate with the formation of the UAE.

On the nights of November 30 and December 1, 1971 - the eve of the birth of the UAE - Iranian troops forcibly took control of the islands, overwhelming the small unit of Ras Al Khaimah police officers stationed on Greater Tunb.

The then Ruler of Sharjah, under heavy pressure from the United Kingdom, agreed to sign an agreement with Iran to share Abu Musa, without agreeing to any relinquishment of sovereignty.

According to the United Nations, Iran has continually breached the terms of the agreement by building military installations and placing military equipment on the island, and moving in settlers to live there.

Speaking on Wednesday after the meetings of the Permanent Bureau of the General Union of Arab Writers, Habib Al Sayegh, the chairman of the Emirates Writers Union, said important decisions had been made to serve the organisation.

Mohammed Salmawy, the secretary general of the Arab union, thanked the UAE for hosting the meetings.

Mr Salmawy said there had been many resolutions, notably "The Black Book" that monitors and exposes Israeli practices since 1948.

Other resolutions included the amendment of a translation project of 100 novels to include poetry, short stories and drama, he added.