Jeddah (Arab News): The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to maintain the entity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and strengthen its current and future role.
“In order to enhance the security, stability, development, prosperity and well-being of the citizens of member states, the GCC has become our fundamental asset,” said King Salman on Sunday.
King Salman welcomed leaders and heads of delegations from the six GCC member states, including the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, for the 39th GCC summit in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.
However, Qatar sent its state minister of foreign affairs to head its delegation to the summit, which drew criticism from Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed, who tweeted: “Qatar’s emir should have accepted the fair demands (of the boycotting states) and attended the summit.”
On regional developments, the king said the Iranian regime continues to promote terrorism and threaten regional stability, and that the Iranian regime is continuing its aggressive policies and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
King Salman said this required all of of the GCC member states to work wit partners to maintain security, stability in the region and the world, and the insistence on the need to achieve full and adequate guarantees toward Iran’s nuclear program and its program for the development of ballistic missiles.
King Salman stressed that the Kingdom continues to defend Arab and Islamic issues in international forums.
“The Palestinian cause is at the forefront of its concerns and it seeks to achieve the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.
Saudi Arabia called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to protect the Palestinian people from the brutal Israeli practices, “which is meant to provoke the sentiments of Arabs, Muslims and peace-loving people.”
On Yemen, King Salman said that the Arab coalition was keen to accept a request from the legitimate government in Yemen to rescue the country and its people from a group that turned on the government with the intent of tampering with the country’s security and stability.
He said the coalition countries also worked to restore hope to the Yemeni people through relief and humanitarian assistance programs and to reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, and the outcome of Yemen’s comprehensive national dialogue.
The Kingdom also called for a political solution to end the Syrian war and the establishment of a transitional government that will guarantee Syrian unity and the departure of foreign forces and terrorist groups.
King Salman said the Kingdom is also keen to build strong and strategic relations with Iraq, which is a key pillar for the Arab security system.
Following the closed-door meeting, member states adopted the Riyadh Declaration, which included seven action points that tackled several areas.
The first point was to establish a roadmap to achieve integration among the GCC states to develop growth and prosperity, in order to strengthen regional security and stability.
In the field of joint defense, they committed to appointing a unified GCC military commander as an important step to complete the joint defense system.
The leaders stressed the utmost importance of developing a unified and effective GCC foreign policy, based on the Statute of the Council and working to preserve its interests and gains and avoiding regional and international conflicts.
They affirmed their support for the Palestinian cause and the unity of the Palestinian people, as well as a solution to the conflict in Yemen and the Syrian crisis.
Speaking during the meeting, Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, thanked King Salman for his generous invitation in hosting the 39th session and said, “the convening of this session of our distinguished council at its scheduled date, despite the circumstances we are going through, confirms our care for the GCC and the continuation of its assemblies.”
“It also reflects our understanding of the achievements we have reached within its framework and our efforts to preserve them.”
“We are aware of the situation in our region, the serious challenges facing it and its alarming escalation, which calls on us to reflect our unity and to strengthen our joint action to support our march.”
The Emir also warned against media campaigns that he said have threatened Gulf unity.
“We call for an end to media campaigns in the region that breach our values and principles, plant the seeds of strife among our children, and will destroy everything we have built and every pillar we have erected.”
The Emir acknowledged that the current conflict in Yemen poses a direct threat and hoped the ongoing consultations in Sweden would be a success.