In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the GCC foreign ministers began by congratulating Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates, on his successful surgical operation. The statement welcomed the signing of the border agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen on June 12, 2000, and the agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait on the area of shallow seas contiguous to the former neutral zone. It also expressed grief and sorrow over the crash of the Gulf Air plane on August 23, 2000 while landing at Bahrain International Airport, and offered condolences to the families of the victims of the incident.
The GCC ministerial council was then briefed on the outcome of the 9th meeting of the GCC Planning and
Development Committee, and the 12th meeting of the GCC Electricity and Water Cooperation Committee,
in addition to a report on the ongoing coordination and cooperation between the GCC and the European
Union (EU). It also reviewed the outcome of several ministerial committees in the areas of manpower, population structure, facilitation of movement of citizens among the GCC member countries, food safety
and anti-smoking measures, and was briefed on the latest developments in military affairs, particularly
ways of boosting military development and cooperation among its member states.
Discussing the progress of Iraq's implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions related to its invasion of the State of Kuwait in 1990, the council reiterated that Iraq still continues its procrastination and evasion. The council again denounced the Iraqi regime's insistence on ignoring the UN resolutions, challenging its will, and rejecting Arab and international initiatives aimed at the creation of an acceptable and instrumental mechanism in cooperation with the United Nations to lift the international economic sanctions against Iraq and end its people's struggle.
The meeting also noted that the Iraqi regime has recently been launching a vigorous and hostile campaign against GCC member countries. In this respect, it expressed its strong denunciation and condemnation of the wording of the Iraqi president and a number of Iraqi officials who have threatened Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in particular. The council declared that such statements would never serve to bring about security and stability in the region but rather confirm that the Iraqi regime is reluctant to correct the error it has committed or prove that it has learned the lessons of the past. The council demanded that the Iraqi government desist from such campaigns and threats and called upon it to try to verify good will in word and deed, to refrain from staging any provocative or aggressive action towards the State of Kuwait, and to admit that its invasion of that country was a breach of Arab and international charters. The council also demanded that the Iraqi government demonstrate cooperation concerning UN Security Council Resolution 1284 and the Inspection, Monitoring and Verification Committee (INMOVEC).
The council again expressed its welcome of all resolutions and initiatives that could contribute to the alleviation of the suffering of the Iraqi people, the responsibility for which should be totally shouldered by the Iraqi regime. In this context, the ministerial council is studying proposals from the State of Qatar for lifting the humanitarian suffering from the Iraqi people. The council expressed the hope that Iraq would take the initiative without any delay towards practical and sincere steps that would reflect its serious commitment towards the international resolutions and requirements of security and stability in the region, in a way that would prove its seriousness in responding to the efforts being exerted in the Arab and international arenas to alleviate the suffering of the sisterly Arab Iraqi people. To this effect, the council underscored its well-known and firm positions towards the preservation of the independence of Iraq, the unity of its territories and its regional integrity.
The council then reviewed relations with Iran and the endeavor of the tripartite committee, recalling the bases and pillars which were approved by the GCC Supreme Council and the approach of the GCC member states towards Iran in recent months, which has been based on the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, non-interference in the affairs of others, rejection of the use of force or threat, resolution of differences through peaceful means, and promotion of common interests. The council looked forward to
the time when the tripartite committee would achieve its goals aimed at the creation of a mechanism for
direct negotiation between the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to resolve
the dispute over the three islands which belong to the UAE.
On the Middle East peace process, the council reiterated its belief that the derailment and consecutive failure in negotiations between the parties concerned on the Syrian as well as the Palestinian tracks emanates from the intransigence of Israel and its lack of seriousness towards the requirements of peace, to which the Arabs are committed as an irreversible strategic option. To this effect, it expressed regret at the collapse of the latest Camp David talks between the Palestinians and Israelis. The council then reiterated its call to the co-sponsors of the peace process, the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as the European Union and the international community, to move effectively, exert greater effort, and increase pressure on Israel to return the legitimate Arab rights in compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace. The council reiterated its firm position that a comprehensive and fair peace cannot be reached unless the Palestinians' legitimate rights are fully restored, including the return of Palestinian refugees according to the United Nations Resolution 194, and the establishment of its independent state on its national territory with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital. The council further reasserted that comprehensive peace would not be achieved without complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the June 1976 parallel.
The GCC foreign ministers regard with extreme concern reports that the United States is planning to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a matter considered contrary to all laws and UN resolutions. Such a step would yield a negative and deep-rooted impact in the Arab and Islamic worlds and be detrimental
to the peace process efforts by confronting it with new obstacles. The council reiterated its demand to the international community to make the Middle East, including the Gulf region, free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The GCC stresses the importance of Israel's accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its subjection of all its nuclear facilities to international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The council, which has been closely following the developments in Somalia, welcomed the reconciliatory process that led to the creation of an interim general assembly and legislative council, the election of a speaker and deputies for the national assembly, and the election of a president for the republic. The council hopes that the rest of the Somali factions will soon join the national reconciliation for the sake of greater stability and security in Somalia and the region. To this effect, the efforts exerted by President of Djibouti Ismail Omer Guelleh were very much appreciated.
The next session of the GCC foreign ministers council will be held in Bahrain on December 3 and 4, 2000