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124th GCC Ministerial Council Begins in Jeddah
Published in Alriyadh on 03 - 09 - 2012

124th Ministerial Council of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States began here today in presence of GCC Foreign Ministers.
At the outset of the session, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered a speech in which he welcomed GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and the participants in the session in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Prince Abdulaziz stressed that the 124th session's agenda includes a number of important issues.
He confirmed that the situation and continuation of killing in Syria requires the attention of the council, pointing out that it is very important for the GCC Member States to apply their capabilities to achieve a quick solution to this crisis in order to stop the bloodshed in Syria and protect Syrian civilians.
The meeting was briefed on a report submitted by the Secretariat General regarding the GCC transference from the phase of cooperation to union. After having discussed the matter from different points, the meeting decided to give the Secretariat General of the GCC more time and asked it to hold further consultations with the member countries prior to re-submitting the report at the GCC foreign ministers forthcoming session which will forward its recommendations on it to the GCC supreme council (summit meeting).
In the economic field, the ministerial council approved the recommendations and results of ministerial committees meetings on economic issues held over the last three months. It approved the statute of the GCC statistics center. The meeting forwarded the following documents to the GCC supreme council, recommending it to accredit them in their capacity as guiding rules for two years:
- draft of unified rules for placing the stocks in financial markets of the GCC
- draft rules of unified declaration for securities on the financial markets of the GCC.
The meeting also forwarded the draft project of establishing the Gulf Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in GCC countries which is hosted by Muscat, Oman.
The meeting authorized the GCC Secretary General to sign a draft memorandum of understanding between the GCC Secretariat General and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The meeting was briefed on the view points of the GCC Consultative Commission on the following studies: youths strategy, enhancing citizenship spirit, employment strategy for the GCC member countries in the government and private sectors, GCC civil aviation proposal and contagious diseases in the GCC member states.
The statement welcomed the results of the extraordinary Islamic Cooperation Organizationâ€TMs summit held in Makkah from 14-15 August 2012 and hailed the proposal presented by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to establish a center for dialogue among Islamic sects to be headquartered in the city of Riyadh.
In the field of terror combating, the GCC foreign ministers reiterated their countries position, rejecting terrorism and extremism in all its forms and whatever its motives, justifications or sources. They confirmed support for any regional or international effort aiming at fighting terror, re-underscoring, at the same time, the importance of activating the resolutions and statements issued by regional and Internatioanl organizations and conferences as regards terrorism.
The Ministerial Council also reiterated the GCC countries position, rejecting the continuation of the Iranian occupation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) three islands of Grand Tomb, Smaller Tomb and Abu-Musa. In this regard, the meeting confirmed the right of sovereignty of the UAE over its above-mentioned isles as well as its territorial waters, air space, continental shelf and economic zone of the islands in their capacity as integral parts of the UAE, regretting that no progress has been made on contacts with Iran on this matter aiming at solving the dispute of the three islands to pave the way for enhancing the region's security and stability and considering that any act to be taken by Iran on the three islands as null and void and not altering any of the historical and legal facts which confirm the sovereignty of the UAE on its islands in addition to considering all peaceful means that would lead to restoring UAE right on the three islands and calling on Iran to positively respond to the UAE endeavors to solve the issue through direct negotiation or resorting to the International Justice Court.
On relations with Iran, the meeting was briefed by Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on the misinterpretation which was conducted on the Persian version of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsiâ€TMs speech on the Iranian TV, Channel I, while covering the opening session of the recently-concluded Non-Aligned Movement conference in Tehran whereas the name of Syria was replaced by Bahrain in a paragraph dealing with the situation in Syria. The ministerial council denounced such irresponsible behavior which contradict the norms and press sincerity of international interpretation.
The meeting expressed in the strongest words the continuation of Iran's interference in the domestic affairs of the GCC countries and breaching their sovereignty and independence. In this regard, it condemned the hostile policies and the provocative statements oftenly coming out by some Iranian officials. The Council demanded Iran to stop such practices which would never contribute to improving the relations of GCC countries with their neighboring country, calling on it to strictly commit itself to the principles of good neighborhood, mutual respect, international norms, laws and charters, non-interference in the domestic affairs, solving differences through peaceful means and direct dialogue and not using force or threatening to use force so that all countries in the region could guarantee the security and stability of the region.
On Iran's nuclear file, the Ministerial Council expressed deep concern on the continuation of the Iranian nuclear program crisis, reiterating the importance of Iran's commitment to show absolute and apparent cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Council confirmed anew its firm positions regarding the importance of being committed to the international legitimacy principles, solving disputes through peaceful means, and making the Middle East, including the Arab Gulf region, free of comprehensive mass destruction and nuclear weapons.
However, the meeting confirmed the right of the region's countries of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the international agreement on atomic energy and under its supervision, and putting all their nuclear facilities at the disposal of international inspection by the IAEA.
The Council reviewed the current situation in the Palestinian territories and the Arab-Israeli dispute, confirming that comprehensive, fair and permanent peace could not be achieved without a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands to the 4th of June 1967 parallel in Palestine, Arab Golan heights, still-seized parts of South Lebanon, and the establishment of the Palestinian independent state with the Eastern Al-Quds as its capital, the principles previously voiced by the Arab Peace Initiative and echoed by the relevant international legitimacy resolutions.
The Council condemned Israel's continuation of its settlement policies and the establishment of new outposts in the West Bank, considering such activity as a continuation of the Israeli approach aiming to change the geographical features of the Palestinian territories, and expansion of settlements and Judaization of Eastern Al-Quds and the West Bank.
The Council stressed its support for the Palestinian Authority's plan to seek support of the United Nations for a sovereign state status.
The Ministerial Council lauded the approval of the Kingdom of Sweden to grant the Palestinian mission all privileges and immunities similar to other accredited embassies to Sweden.
The Council affirmed its full commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq, calling upon the Iraqi government to fulfill its responsibilities to promote the unity of Iraq and its stability and prosperity and to activate its role in building bridges of trust with neighboring countries on the basis of the principles of good neighborliness. The council also stressed the importance of exerting efforts by all parties in brotherly Iraq to achieve lasting and comprehensive political reconciliation and to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people and to lay the foundations for a secure and stable state that is based on the supremacy of law and respect of human rights so that Iraq would resume its role in support of Arab causes.
The Council stressed anew the necessity for Iraq to complete the implementation of all UN Security Council relevant resolutions, including drawing border marks between Kuwait and Iraq, compensations for Iraqi farmers, missing prisoners of war from Kuwait and other countries, and repatriation of Kuwait antiquities.
On the developments in Syria, the Ministerial Council condemned the killings and massacres against the Syrian people and the brutal use of tanks, aircraft and artillery against unarmed people, calling upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and take effective measures to protect Syrian civilians.
The Ministerial Council welcomed the decisions issued on Syria by the Ministerial Council of the Arab League which was held in Doha on 23rd of July 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations on 3rd August, 2012, and the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Makkah on 14 to 15 August 2012, stressing the need to work to provide all kinds of support for the Syrian people to achieve a peaceful transition of power in Syria and preserve the country's security, stability and unity and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people.
The Ministerial Council expressed thanks to and appreciation of the former UN and Arab League joint envoy to Syria Kofi Annan for the efforts he had exerted in this regard. The Council welcomed the appointment of Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi as Annan's replacement, stressing the importance of putting a new strategy and a clear plan aiming to achieve a peaceful transition of power in Syria.
Having reviewed the recent developments in Lebanon, the Ministerial Council stressed keenness on the importance of maintaining security, stability, and unity of Lebanon, calling on all Lebanese parties to put the national interest as a priority to avoid being dragged to the Syrian crisis trap.
The Ministerial Council condemned the criminal terrorist bombings in Yemen, lauding the efforts of the Yemeni security services which led to uncover a foreign spy network aiming to tamper with the security and stability of Yemen.
The Council welcomed the decisions and steps taken by Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to restructure the armed forces and launch a national dialogue among all Yemeni forces to implement the GCC initiative and its executive mechanism, wishing Yemen every success of the current transitional phase.
The Council confirms its support and welcome of the Consultative Group Meeting of the donor conference for Yemen, to be held from 4 - 5 September 2012, in the city of Riyadh, in support of the developmental and reconstruction efforts in Yemen.
Concluding its statement, the Ministerial Council expressed condemnation and denunciation of a campaign of ethnic cleansing and atrocities and violation of human rights against Muslim citizens of the Rohingya in Myanmar, calling upon the international community and regional and international civil society organizations to shoulder their responsibility in this regard, prevent more casualties and provide humanitarian aid.

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