In a statement issued in Riyadh yesterday at the end of their 78th regular meeting, the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expressed their satisfaction over the results of the referendum in Bahrain as reflecting that nation's cohesion and its people's support for Emir of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. The ministerial council also expressed support for the firm action taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to end the incident of the hijacked Russian plane, stressing the GCC stance against terrorism.
Reviewing developments in the Kuwait/Iraq situation, the council strongly denounced statements made by a number of senior Iraqi officials including threats against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The council urged Iraq to meet the obligations of the UN Security Council resolutions, cooperate with the International Red Cross, and work for an immediate solution for the issue of Kuwaiti detainees still in Iraq. At the same time, the council welcomed humanitarian initiatives aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the Iraqi people, and stressed respect for Iraq's territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs.
As for the three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates, the council noted that they are still under occupation by Iran, which has rejected peaceful initiatives to solve the issue, including those of the tripartite GCC committee. This does not serve security and stability in the Arab world, and hinders development of relations between the two sides. The council reiterated its support for the UAE, and denounced Iranian military maneuvers on the islands and in their territorial waters.
Condemning Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people, the council demanded that the UN Security Council provide international protection for them, stressing its inalienable stance on achieving comprehensive and just peace in the region based on UN resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace. The council deplored the recent statement by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in contradiction to UN resolutions on the matter, referring to Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the capital of Israel. In addition, the council renewed its call to the international community to work for making the Middle East including the Gulf area, a region free from all weapons of mass destruction.
The foreign ministers issued a separate statement yesterday following the announcement of the verdict of the International Court of Justice regarding the border dispute between Bahrain and Qatar as follows:
"The GCC ministerial council, at the beginning of its 78th session, extends greetings and congratulations to Emir of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifah and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani on the occasion of the end of the border dispute between their two countries after the ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
"The council expresses its happiness and satisfaction over this historical event as it paves the way to boost ways of cooperation between the two countries. This shows their close family ties and their common destiny, and will help enhance relations between them, leading to full reconciliation.
"The council also expresses its appreciation to the two countries on their sincere efforts to reach this historical resolution. It affirms its trust in the wisdom of the leaders of the State of Bahrain and the State of Qatar to achieve the common goals of their countries."