In his Al-Rai article published on Thursday in Arabic, Mohammad Javad Zarif has argued that either all countries in the Persian Gulf region will benefit from security or all of them will be deprived of it. The full text of the article follows.
The Hormuz region is of strategic significance in international and energy trade. Some 15 million barrels of oil are supplied to consumers on a daily basis, and at the same time a large amount of goods are traded between countries dependent on this region and those beyond. For the regional countries, security and stability are an undeniable necessity in a bid to guarantee access to international markets. It has been centuries that regional security has been ensured by regional states, and doing so would not be possible without cooperation and interaction.
The current critical situation should lead us to believe that what the region is in dire need of to achieve lasting security, but has not attained yet, is to develop the common understanding that security cannot be achieved by purchasing massive amounts of weapons and signing military accords with foreign powers, which pose the greatest threat to regional security with their relentless interference and by supporting the Zionist regime. Rather, security is contingent upon reliance on people and national potentialities as well as boosting relations to enjoy good neighbourliness with other countries in the region. Our region is suffering from a lack of comprehensive regional dialogue in different domains, which can uproot peace and prosperity forever. Our region is more in need of intra-regional dialogue than accusations, harsh and aggressive rhetoric, and stockpiling of weapons and an arms race. The Islamic Republic of Iran has, in the past, realized the dangers ahead and put forward two initiatives: a forum for regional dialogue and a non-aggression treaty. Now, with an awareness of growing threats and challenges, we feel the need for the realization of new dialogue in the region more than ever in order to save the region and bring it back from the brink of annihilation. We believe it is the common responsibility of all regional countries to ensure security in the region, and we are confident that with the cooperation of all countries in the Hormuz region, it would be possible to steer the region through rough and rogue waves towards the coast of tranquility, progress and prosperity. It is the key responsibility of all regional states to ensure security in the region. Security should be endogenous and not affected by foreign intervention. The destiny of people and nations in the Persian Gulf region is closely intertwined thanks to religious, cultural, traditional, historical, geographical and family commonalities. Security in that region cannot be divided. Either all in the region enjoy security or all are deprived of it. Accordingly, the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) initiative was presented by President Rouhani during his speech at the UN General Assembly meeting.
The Hormuz Peace Endeavour brings together eight countries, namely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Iraq, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, the State of Kuwait, the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The proposed plan has what it takes to realize lasting security in the region through intra-regional dialogue.
This plan is based on principles such as commitment to objectives and axioms of the United Nations, good neighbourliness, respect for territorial sovereignty and integrity, non-violability of international borders, peaceful settlement of all differences, rejection of threat or use of force or participation in any military coalition or accord against one another, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs and foreign relations, respect for one another’s national, religious and historical sanctities and symbols, mutual respect, mutual interests and the welfare of all governments and peoples in the region, promotion of mutual understanding and peaceful and cordial relations, cooperation to eradicate terrorism, extremism and sectarian tensions, resolving tensions and settlement of all divisions and conflicts through peaceful means and dialogue, enhancement of relations and preventive warnings, collective provision of energy security, freedom of shipping and free transfer of oil and other resources, supporting the environment and expansion of collaboration, interaction, business, trade and investment at different levels and in different areas between governments, people and the private sector.
Achieving the above-mentioned objectives will be pursued by holding meetings at the levels of experts, ministers and heads of state as well as specialists, think tanks and the private sector along with forming the necessary action groups in high-priority areas.
Areas of cooperation and issues on the agenda of talks by actions groups and meetings of the eight countries may include a non-aggression and non-interference agreement, control of weapons and confidence-building measures, creation of areas free from Weapons of Mass Destruction, military communications and the exchange of information and data, permanent contact lines, preventive warning systems, war on drugs, terrorism and human smuggling, improvement of energy security and freedom of shipping for all, joint investment in the areas of oil, natural gas, energy, transit and transportation, boosting transactions in the private sector, business and trade, cultural and social cooperation including dialogue among religions, cultural exchanges and tourism, scientific collaboration including the exchange of scientists and university students, joint scientific-technological projects, cooperation in emerging cyber-domains such as cybersecurity, nuclear safety, protection of the environment, especially the marine environment and the negative effects of dust particles and particulate matter, humanitarian cooperation, particularly with regards to migrants, asylum-seekers and homeless people.
Also, the United Nations’ potential will be tapped to create an international coverage and allay the possible concerns of some parties and ensure the legitimate interests of the international community.
It goes without saying that the success of any plan entails the contribution of all members as well as mutual trust. President Rouhani has instructed me to begin my consultations in order to learn about the viewpoints of governments and elites in the region and complete and reinforce the Hormuz Peace Endeavour initiative. The elites, think tanks and the private sector can offer their constructive opinions and suggestions to contribute to the formation and reinforcement of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour initiative. We have pinned our hopes on the implementation of this initiative and await positive reaction to the proposed plan by the regional countries. We hereby announce our readiness to enter into comprehensive and overarching talks within the framework of the above-said principles and objectives.