2003 News Story

GCC foreign ministers conclude 88th session

The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) left Jeddah today after concluding their 88th session, which was attended by United Arab Emirate's Foreign Minister Rashed bin Abdullah Al-Ne'ami, Bahrain's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alaoui bin Abdullah, and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Shaikh Dr. Mohammed bin Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal and GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Atiyyah.

The session covered issues such as Iraq, Palestine and the Middle East peace process, and the war on terrorism.

In their communiqué the ministers noted with deep concern that the phenomenon of extremism, violence and terrorism is on the rise and spreading chaos, fear, and tension, and condemned this in the strongest terms, confirming full support to Saudi Arabia for the steps it has taken to eradicate terrorism and bring about peace and security. The communiqué also commented on the need to confront prejudiced media and called for coordination to protect young people in the Gulf from its negative impacts.

The communiqué denounced the recent terrorist act at the United Nation's Baghdad office; welcomed the UN Security Council resolution 1500, expressing the hope that this will lead to the establishment of a constitutional government in Iraq that will guarantee the safety, sovereignty, security and independence of the people of Iraq; and called on the international community to unify their efforts to help the Iraqis in all aspects.

The communiqué expressed great concern at the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories and the sudden setback to recent breakthroughs, attributing this negative development to Israel's insistence on its policy of assassination and its refusal to live up to its obligations towards the 'roadmap', particularly in dictating new conditions that are not in the map as well as continuing to build what it calls the 'security wall', which only encroaches on Palestinian land. The communiqué called for international peacekeeping forces to be dispatched to mediate between the two sides, and for Israel to desist from its policies of assassination, violence against innocent people, and illegal demolition of their homes. Expressing renewed appreciation for the efforts of the 'quartet' committee and U.S. President George W. Bush, the communiqué urged all parties and the international community to put pressure on the Israeli government to honor its commitments, and called upon all Palestinian parties to unify ranks and avoid creating differences amongst themselves.

On Iran's occupation of the three United Arab Emirates islands, the communiqué reiterated support of UAE's sovereignty over the islands, their territorial waters, air space and continental shelf, and hoped for a peaceful solution to the issue, for the sake of security and stability in the region.