Saudi Arabia says Iran boycott reports baseless
DUBAI, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has dismissed newspaper reports
quoting an unnamed Saudi official as saying Gulf Arab states might boycott
Iran over its territorial dispute with the United Arab Emirates.
A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press
Agency late on Wednesday said the reports carried by the UAE's Gulf News
and al-Ittihad dailies on Tuesday were "baseless and categorically
The papers said the official did not rule out a Gulf Arab economic and
diplomatic boycott of Iran in the dispute over the three Gulf islands,
but said Saudi Arabia hoped it would not come to that.
The reported comments appeared unusual for an official from Saudi Arabia,
which has moved faster than most other Gulf Arab states to improve relations
with non-Arab Iran since moderate Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was
elected in 1997.
A Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Bahrain released a statement on
Sunday that backed the UAE's rights to the three islands and urged Tehran
to agree to refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
The three small but strategic islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and
Lesser Tunbs are located near key oil shipping lanes at the mouth of the
Gulf. They are held by Iran but also claimed by the UAE.
The GCC alliance groups Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain