Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal left Qatar today after heading the Kingdom's delegation to the 23rd Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Also participating were Emir of Qatar Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani; Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed of Oman; Kuwait's First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Vice President of the United Arab Emirates Shaikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is Prime Minister and Governor of Dubai; and GCC's Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah.
At the conclusion of the two-day Summit in Doha, the final communiqué stated that the GCC reviewed ways to implement the ideas presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz at the GCC's fourth consultative meeting; endorsed the establishment of the GCC customs union effective January 1, 2003; and approved executive measures pertaining to the U.S. dollar as the base for GCC currency.
The Summit also approved a petroleum strategy, and an emergency regional plan for GCC petroleum products, recommending a feasibility study on Qatar's proposal for a pipeline for the export of GCC oil. In the area of water, a feasibility study on shared resources was recommended. In the area of real estate, the Muscat document pertaining to a unified registration system was approved as a guideline for a period of four years.
The Summit was briefed on economic relations; the plan to develop joint educational curricula; the steps taken for the admission of Yemen to some of the GCC specialized organs; and the existing military cooperation among member states.
The communiqué reiterated the GCC's condemnation of terrorism, while stressing the need to distinguish between terrorism and a people's right to resist occupation. The Summit resolved to assign the consultative commission to study the issues of population, imbalance in demographic composition, and the role of women in the economy and society as well as in the family. The communiqué welcomed Qatar's diplomatic cooperation agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain; and Bahrain's diplomatic cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
The GCC Summit also welcomed Iraq's unconditional acceptance of Security Council Resolution 1441 allowing the return of international inspectors to Iraq, and urged Iraq to cooperate with the inspectors in a positive manner, while calling on the inspectors to be impartial and professionally objective. The communiqué reiterated the need to respect Iraq's independence and territorial integrity and not to interfere in its internal affairs; called on the international community to do more to help the two sides end the task as soon as possible in a way that ensures lifting of the sanctions on Iraq and the ending of the suffering of its people; and expressed deep concern over the content of the Iraqi President's message, which contained allegations and false accusations against the state of Kuwait, its leadership, government and people. This, the communiqué stated, underlines Iraq's violation of international and Arab resolutions on the need to respect Kuwait's security, stability and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. The communiqué called on Iraq to fully adhere to all these resolutions especially concerning the release of Kuwaiti and other captives and the return of Kuwaiti property, and put a halt to practices that can lead to keeping the region in a cycle of tension and instability.
The communiqué also addressed the issue of Iran's occupation of the three islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa, that belong to the United Arab Emirates, and referred to previous GCC resolutions on this. The communiqué expressed support for the steps taken by the transitional government in Afghanistan to achieve security and stability there.
The communiqué expressed deep concern at developments in the Middle East peace process and the dangerous deterioration of conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories resulting from the continued aggression practiced by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people and leadership. Condemning these brutal acts, the Summit stressed that the only way to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East is to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands taken in 1967 and give the Palestinian people the right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent state on their national soil with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative; and demanded that the international community put pressure on Israel to stop these practices and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.
The communiqué also demanded that the international community work to make the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf free from all kinds of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear arms; and stressed the need for Israel to accede to the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and submit all its nuclear installations to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.