Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, returned this evening from Muscat where he led the Kingdom’s delegation to the 16th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which ended its deliberations in the Omani capital earlier today. Crown Prince Abdullah was later received by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, to whom he conveyed the greetings of the GCC leaders, who expressed satisfaction over medical reports confirming the good condition of the King’s health and indicated their heartfelt good wishes for him.
The communiqué issued by the GCC leaders at the end of the three-day summit began with the report by Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, as President of the 15th Summit, on the drafting of a comprehensive GCC stand in light of current developments and the efforts to be taken jointly to confront the challenges facing the region.
The GCC leaders then expressed anxiety concerning the failure of the Iraqi government to implement in full the United Nations Security Council resolutions in respect of its aggression against Kuwait, particularly those calling for elimination of weapons of mass destruction. The communiqué, referring to the Iraqi regime’s policy of procrastination which has led to the destruction of the country’s human, economic, and social structure, and has prevented it from playing its vital role in the region, stated: “The GCC Supreme Council holds the Iraqi regime fully responsible for the ordeal of the Iraqi people, reiterates its sympathy with the fraternal Iraqi people, and would like to reaffirm the importance of the implementation of Resolutions 706, 712, and 986.” Reviewing the vexing reports on the confession of the Iraqi government to its nuclear, biological and missile armament program after four years of maneuvers and fact distortion, the GCC leaders stressed the importance of intensifying the efforts of the UN Committee assigned to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and expressed its readiness to provide financial and political support in this, urging all world states to extend similar support.
Concerning relations with Iran, the GCC leaders deplored its failure to respond positively to the UAE’s frequent calls to settle their dispute peacefully, and considers the continued occupation of the three islands as a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the UAE. The communiqué calls on Iran to accept that the dispute be referred to the International Court of Justice.
On the Middle East, the Council stressed the importance of realizing a just and comprehensive peace in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and reiterated its support of the principle of land in return for peace, which should lead to Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, from Jerusalem, from the Golan Heights, and from South Lebanon. The GCC leaders welcomed both the peace agreement signed by Jordan and Israel, and the second stage of Palestinian Autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza. They also lauded the constructive efforts exerted by the sponsors of the peace process, especially those of U.S. President Bill Clinton.
The communiqué also welcomed the agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio on November 21, 1995, bringing peace to Bosnia-Herzegovina, praising the efforts of the U.S. and the European Union in this regard.
Concerning the phenomenon of terrorism, the communiqué expressed deep anxiety over this increasing trend of violence, deploring it as running counter to the teachings of Islam. The GCC leaders reiterated support of Bahrain and the measures it has taken to ensure its security and stability, and condemned the recent criminal explosion in Riyadh, expressing confidence in the capability of the Saudi government to find the perpetrators. They welcome all measures, Arab or international, that might be taken to uproot terrorism, and condemned the biased campaigns that have been launched against certain member states with the aim of undermining their stability.
Reviewing the issue of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, including the situation of the Iraqi armament program, the communiqué called for the determination of the Middle East including the Gulf region as a zone free from all kinds of weapons of mass destruction whether nuclear or biological. Elimination of those of Iraq in line with UN Security Council Resolution 687 would be a step towards making the entire region free from such weapons.
The communiqué stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation and coordination among member states in the security field, and approved the recommendations of the extraordinary meeting of GCC Interior Ministers in April, and of the 14th meeting of GCC Defense Ministers in November.
The Council also endorsed bilateral agreements reached by the GCC Interior Ministers concerning travel by citizens within GCC countries using identity cards, and expressed the hope that all member states will complete the required procedures to implement this.
In the economic sphere, the Council approved the recommendations submitted by the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee, for an integrated electric power grid in GCC member states; for economic activity in the sphere of education; for the development of the banking sector allowing branches of national banks to be opened in GCC member states; and for measures to facilitate recruitment and transfer of manpower. Concerning standardization of custom tariffs, the communiqué requests the Ministerial Council and the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee to hold a joint meeting within the first half of 1996 in order to reach an agreement in this respect. The Council decided to continue current regulations pertaining to the practice of retail trade by GCC citizens, praising the positive role played by the private sector in the various economic spheres in the member states. The communiqué further called on all OPEC members to adhere to the recent agreement and abide by production quotas, urging non-OPEC oil-producing countries to cooperate with OPEC member states so as to improve the situation in the oil market.
In the information field, the communiqué approved the recommendations submitted by the seventh meeting of the GCC Information Ministers in October, concerning joint information activities among the member states. In the legal sphere, the GCC leaders approved the agreement for implementation of rules concerning judicial cooperation.
Finally, the communiqué reported the appointment as Secretary-General of the GCC of Jamil Ibrahim Hujeilan, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to replace Fahim Sultan Al-Qassemi, expressing appreciation for the latter’s efforts to enhance cooperation among the member states. The communiqué also praised similar efforts exerted by Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwaiz, the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs.