The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states concluded in Jeddah today their 78th session under the chairmanship of Qatar's foreign minister Shaikh Hamad bin Jasim Al-Thani. The meeting issued a statement praising the agreement on diplomatic and consular cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain signed in Jeddah today, describing it as an important step to enhance joint action among GCC member states.
Reiterating the GCC's stance in support of measures taken by the Kingdom to eradicate terrorism, the statement condemned the recent criminal acts in Riyadh, and the foiled attempts even in the holy places of Makkah and Madinah; and called on the international community to accelerate efforts towards holding an international conference on confronting terrorism and addressing its causes.
As regards Iraq, the statement urged acceleration of efforts to restore normalcy to the Iraqi people, giving a key role to the United Nations to maintain Iraq's security and stability in accordance with the Geneva Conventions; and called for the establishment as soon as possible of a government of national unity to enable the Iraqi people to administer their country by themselves and assume the responsibility for utilizing its own resources, including oil.
On the latest developments in the Middle East, the statement welcomed the outcome of the Summits at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, and Aqaba in Jordan, and expressed support of the 'roadmap' that stipulates the end of Israeli occupation and the setting up of a Palestinian state by the year 2005; and implementation of Israel's commitments based on the Madrid Conference, the land-for-peace principle, UN Security Council resolutions, and the initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz that was unanimously endorsed by Beirut Arab Summit. In this regard, the statement expressed appreciation of the positive and effective efforts of the International Quartet Committee and the personal role of U.S. President George W. Bush to push the peace process forward.
The GCC foreign ministers also renewed their appeal to the international community to make the Middle East including the Gulf region free of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction; and stressed the GCC's consistent stance on Iran's occupation of the three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), anticipating that important mutual contacts between the two countries will lead to a peaceful solution.