The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grouping the Arabian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, was established on May 25, 1981, and is now marking its sixteenth anniversary. The GCC, embodying the trends of the governments of its member states and the ambitions of its citizens, has accomplished a great deal in various spheres at the local level, and has proved capable of playing a significant role in Arab, regional and international arenas. In matters of foreign affairs, the GCC has adopted a clear policy based on the principles of neutrality, respect for international law, non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, and promotion of global peace and justice.
The GCC has unwaveringly supported constructive international efforts to settle the Arab-Israeli dispute, and views Israel's intransigence as an obstacle to peace and an element in the escalation of tension and violence in the region. The GCC believes in the importance of UN resolutions 242, 338, and 425; supports Syria in its efforts to regain the Golan Heights; and calls for Israeli withdrawal from the southern part of Lebanon.
The GCC took a firm stance in support of Kuwait during the vicious Iraqi occupation and worked with fraternal and friendly countries for its liberation. The GCC is now supportive of the UAE in its dispute with Iran over the three islands in the Gulf, urging peaceful means for its settlement in line with international law. Moreover, the GCC has extended support to the Afghan people, urging the conflicting factions to cease fighting, adhere to the principles of the Makkah Agreement, and respond positively to UN resolutions in order to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan. As for the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the GCC has worked tirelessly for the restoration of peace and security there. The GCC is a keen supporter of the League of Arab States and of the United Nations, and has repeatedly deplored the phenomenon of terrorism, calling for international cooperation to uproot it.
In order to enhance economic cooperation among its member states, the GCC Supreme Council approved the Unified Economic Agreement at its second session in Riyadh in November, 1981. Recently, the GCC approved unification of customs tariffs and called for the establishment of a common Gulf market.
In the area of security, the GCC Interior Ministers approved the Security Agreement at their thirteenth meeting in Riyadh in November, 1994. In the legal sphere, the GCC Justice Ministers approved a unified legal system for personal affairs at their meeting in Muscat in October, 1996. In the field of information, the GCC has set up a joint plan for improving cooperation among member states, with the Kuwait-based corporation for the production of joint broadcasting programs, the Riyadh-based Gulf Television Network, and the Doha-based Popular Heritage Center, standing as witness to this.