GCC Foreign Ministers hold 126th Ministerial Council meeting

March 3, 2013

The 126th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers was held in Riyadh today, under the chairmanship of Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa. The Kingdom’s delegation was led by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal. Other participants included Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah; Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al-Thani; UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan; Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah; and GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani.

In a statement released following the deliberations, the GCC Foreign Ministers called on Iran to respect the principles of good-neighborliness and to abide by international conventions. In this respect, they demanded that Tehran end its interference into the internal affairs of other countries, end its occupation of the three islands belonging to the UAE, and take steps to remove the legitimate doubts of the international community regarding its nuclear program.

Regarding Syria, the statement called for a united international effort to end the violence being perpetrated against civilians and to bring about a peaceful transfer of power. It insisted that the Syrian people must be empowered to defend themselves against the brutal Assad regime and called for cooperation with the National Coalition for the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Foreign Ministers stressed that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace can only be achieved through the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Touching on a number of other issues, the statement stressed the need for further GCC cooperation and integration; welcomed the initiatives of Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to launch national dialogue processes in their respective countries; reaffirmed the need for global counterterrorism efforts; and asserted the importance of national reconciliation in Iraq.