The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today concluded the two-day session of their 59th ministerial council, held in Riyadh. The Saudi delegation was led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
The communiqué issued by the council began by welcoming new Secretary-General Sheikh Jameel Ibrahim Al-Hujeilan and wishing him success, and went on to express satisfaction at the statement issued by Saudi Arabia and Qatar on completion of the work of their joint technical committee on border demarcation. The council also praised certain member states' bilateral agreements in the area of facilitating citizens' movements with the use of personal identification cards, and looked forward to having all member states follow the lead of their sister countries in this respect.
The council noted with relief the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Iraq and the United Nations for the purpose of carrying out Security Council Resolution 986 dealing with the provision of food and medical supplies to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, and laid the responsibility for their suffering on the Iraqi government alone, because it rejected the resolution for two years, thereby depriving Iraqis for no reason. The communiqué voiced appreciation for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and the UN negotiating team, and urged Iraq to implement all relevant resolutions especially those pertaining to the release of all Kuwaiti and other detainees, commitment to a mechanism of compensation, the return of all Kuwaiti property seized during the occupation, and abstinence from all hostile or provocative acts in line with Resolution 949, as well as complete implementation of other aspects of its international commitment, namely elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, by allowing the UN inspection team to carry out its mission. The communiqué reiterated the council's political and material support for the UN inspection team, and called on the international community to effectively participate in supporting it in the interests of consolidating security and stability in the region.
The communiqué deplored the irresponsible statements made recently in Cairo by Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi concerning the sovereignty and independence of Kuwait, saying these represented a violation of norms and principles governing relations between countries.
Reviewing relations with Iran, which is occupying three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the council noted that the Iranian government continues to take measures which strengthen its occupation of these islands, forcing a de facto policy, and pointed out that Iran established an airfield on Abu Moussa Island on March 10, a power station on Greater Tunb Island on April 14, and announced the setting up of a new port on Abu Moussa on May 19, thereby persisting in its unjustifiably provocative measures. Referring to the memoranda of protest forwarded by the UAE government to the Iranian government, the council reiterated both its deep sorrow at Iran's failure to respond and reach a peaceful solution to this dispute, and its firm position in support of the UAE and all peaceful measures for it to regain sovereignty over these islands, again calling on Iran to accept referral of the issue to the International Court of Justice.
While affirming that the security of the GCC states is indivisible, the council urged Iran not to interfere in the internal affairs of the State of Bahrain or any other member of the GCC, and to refrain from resorting to or encouraging acts of sabotage. The communiqué also expressed concern over Iran's continued attempts to build up arms in excess of conventional defense needs, and called on the international community to make the Gulf region free from weapons of mass destruction.
Reviewing developments in the Middle East peace process, in the light of the GCC commitment to realizing a just, comprehensive and durable peace based on the Madrid Conference and UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the land-for-peace principle and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, notably that of self-determination and establishing an independent state on Palestinian soil, the council reiterated its support for the Syrian position calling for Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the June 4, 1967 lines. While renewing its strong condemnation of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and its support for and solidarity with the Lebanese people, the council also affirms the necessity of commitment to the implementation of Security Council resolution 425, and called on the UN Security Council to force Israel to pay the necessary compensation for the damage and casualties caused by its aggression, and for a speedy resumption of bilateral peace talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks to ensure tangible progress towards the realization of a just, comprehensive and durable peace in the Middle East.
Referring to acts of terrorism, the communiqué affirmed that extremism, violence and terrorism are international phenomena not restricted to a particular region, and reiterated the GCC's rejection and condemnation of these acts of violence and terrorism, notably those which undermine the security and stability of the region, and called on the international community to coordinate its efforts to halt all such acts and guarantee that the perpetrators are punished. The communiqué called for the prevention of extremist and terrorist elements from using the lands of any country to raise funds or amass arms, and from using the media to instigate acts of violence and terrorism. The communiqué expressed relief at the Saudi success in capturing the perpetrators of the Riyadh bombing and wished the people and government of Saudi Arabia constant stability and security under the leadership of Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz.
Turning to the resolutions of the GCC Supreme Council in Muscat which confirmed the importance of cooperation in the face of malicious media campaigns against any of the six member states, the communiqué called for commitment to the Charter of Honor in Media Work.
Reviewing developments in the dispute between Yemen and Eritrea over the Hanish Islands, the council expressed satisfaction at the agreement reached to sign a declaration of principle between the two countries.
After review of events in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the council reiterated the importance of implementing the Dayton Agreement, with all its clauses, to make a secure and stable peace a reality for all its signatories, and reconfirmed the importance of cooperation among the international community in submitting to the international tribunal in the Hague everyone who committed crimes against humanity, mass murder, or serious violations against international law in the former Yugoslavia.
Prior to the ministerial council session, GCC Secretary-General Jameel Al-Hujeilan spoke of his pride in the confidence bestowed on him and spotlighted the main achievements of the GCC in its fifteen years of existence. At the opening session, current chairman of the GCC ministerial council, Omani State Minister for Foreign Affairs Youssef Bin Alawi Abdullah also referred to the fact that the joint meeting coincided with the fifteenth anniversary of the GCC, and expressed pride at the great achievements accomplished by the GCC in all fields, including resolutions calling for a unified customs tariff and a free trade agreement with the European Union. He commended the economic development plans adopted by the GCC states aimed at achieving targeted goals amid the sensitive and crucial economic and political developments under way in the international arena.