1999 News Story

Ministers comment on GCC's 20th Summit

At a press conference following the 20th Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which ended in Riyadh yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal declared that although the reference in the final communiqué to the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran was slight, the wording was stronger, indicating that it is being taken seriously.
Elaborating on the proposed Customs Union, he said that a great many regulations had be formulated prior to its establishment in 2005, concerning such things as point of origin for imports, re-exportation procedures, and commercial agencies.

Categorically denying that the GCC Supreme Council is ruling out the issue of building up individual military forces, he said that military cooperation means coordinating the individual forces that have been built up.

On other matters, he confirmed that the GCC supports the return of Palestinian refugees as their legitimate right; that Yemen's possible membership was not discussed; that Iran should cooperate with the tripartite committee to facilitate a solution; and that Iran and the GCC share the sincere desire to forge relations based on good neighborliness and respect for the internal affairs of others.
At the end of this press conference, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf stressed that all the GCC member states will have to make sacrifices, either through lower customs tariffs or adjustments to re-exports. He reiterated that the GCC is well prepared for globalization, with economies that are open to trade and investment, adding the member states will be able to make any modifications that are necessary. He went on to say that the Customs Union is the primary step towards a common market, and pointed out measures such as GCC-wide work opportunities, stock purchases, and power supply, adding that the Customs Union in particular is in conformity with the systems of the World Trade Organization (WTO).