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Iran: Ahmadinejad to attend Gulf Arab summit

/ Source: The Associated Press

Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday officially confirmed the attendance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab states, the first such visit by an Iranian leader.

The six member group of Arab states located on the southern littoral of the Persian Gulf was formed in 1980 in part to confront expansionist fears of Iran after its Islamic revolution.

"The president will attend the summit based on the invitation by Qatar's Emir," spokesman of the ministry, Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters. "This is the first time that an Iranian president is to attend the summit."

"This is an important event and it could be effective," he said, adding that Ahmadinejad's participation could help improving ties with the Gulf Arab countries.

The summit will be held on December 3 and 4 in the Qatari capital of Doha and also include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The council regularly supports United Arab Emirates in its dispute over ownership of the Gulf Island of Abu Musa, which Tehran controls and calls an "inseparable part of Iran."