The 27th summit of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded in Riyadh today. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz opened the summit, known as the Sheikh Jaber Summit, in a ceremony yesterday.
In a final communiqué, the Supreme Council said that the summit reviewed the achievements in all areas since the last meeting in Abu Dhabi, and conducted a comprehensive assessment of regional and international political and security issues.
On steps toward GCC economic integration, the Supreme Council accredited a unified guide for controls on imported food, an important requirement for a GCC customs union. The Council also instructed that the necessary measures should be taken to announce the establishment of the GCC common market by the end of 2007.
Further studies are needed for the establishment of a monetary union with a single currency as well as for an integrated water and railway grid, the communiqué said. It endorsed a study on a peninsula shield force submitted by King Abdullah. The Council was also briefed on the steps needed to allow Yemen to integrate into the GCC economies.
The communiqué highlighted the GCC’s firm renunciation of terrorism in all its forms. Terrorism is a global crime that requires regional and international cooperation to combat it, the Council said. The communiqué also stressed that terrorism is an extremist phenomenon that has nothing to do with religion or identity, and that all peoples are responsible for confronting the causes of terrorism.
On the issue of Iran, the Council reiterated its call for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and called on Iran to continue dialogue and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It also urged Iran to consider the environmental aspects of the issue.
In related matters, the Council renewed its call for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, and commissioned a joint study on the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes according to international criteria. It also urged Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
On Iraq, the Council expressed its profound sadness at the deteriorating situation there and denounced all terrorist actions, killing and sectarian violence in the country. It called for the support of Iraq’s unity, sovereignty, identity and independence. It also emphasized the need for non-interference in Iraqi internal affairs. National reconciliation is the solution to Iraq’s problems and a basic requirement for stability, the Council stated.
Turning to the Palestinian issue, the communiqué strongly condemned Israel’s aggressions against the Palestinian people. The Council stressed its support for the Palestinian people and called on the international community to end the repeated Israeli attacks. It affirmed the need to convene an international conference to halt Israel’s attacks and to restart the peace process according to the Abdullah peace plan, the Road Map for peace and international law.
The Council called on the Palestinian leadership to exert more efforts towards establishing unity and to speedily form a national unity government. It welcomed the cease-fire between Israelis and the Palestinians as an important step towards dialogue and the resumption of the peace process.
The communiqué said that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East will only be achieved by the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital and with the Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms in southern Lebanon.
The Council concluded that the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian issue and the suffering of the Palestinian people have aggravated disputes in the Middle East, and called on the international community to make resolving the conflict a priority.
On Lebanon, the Council strongly denounced the violence there and the political assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Such actions increase tension, it said. The Council reiterated its support for Lebanon and called on the Lebanese people to unify in order to overcome the current critical situation.
Turning to Sudan, the Council expressed regret for the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Darfur and urged the Sudanese government and the various warring factions to opt for dialogue in the national interest. The international community should assist Sudan in resolving this issue, the Council said, noting that the Sudanese government has taken a number of positive steps.
The Council called on warring factions in Somalia to negotiate a resolution to their differences; urged the United Nations to address the issue of missing Kuwaiti POWs; and reiterated its support for the UAE’s claim to the Tunb islands and Abu Musa. It also renewed the term of office for GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah for three years, effective April 1, 2008.