UAE cancel football match with Iran amid tensions
The general secretary of the United Arab Emirates Football Association says it has cancelled a friendly match with Iran this week due to rising tensions over a disputed island.
Yousef Abdullah said it was "normal" to cancel Tuesday's match after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered the UAE last week by visiting Abu Mousa island, which both countries claim as part of their territory. Abdullah questioned "how we could play the match" after the visit, adding that "a friendly match should be between friends."
Tehran took control of the tiny island and nearby Greater and Lesser Tunb islands in 1971 after British forces left. The three islands dominate the approach to the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-fifth of the world's oil supply passes.
President Ahmadinejad's visit was condemned by UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the strongest possible terms, saying: "This visit will not change the legal status of these islands which are part and parcel of the UAE national soil."
Sheikh Abdullah asserted the visit and the provocative rhetoric of the Iranian president expose Iran's false allegations regarding its keenness to establish relations of good-neighbourliness and friendship with the UAE and countries of the region.
The UAE has recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations after what it called a 'flagrant violation' of its sovereignty.
GCC states are planning to meet on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh to discuss the dispute.