Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz opened the 27th summit of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at Al-Dariyah Palace in Riyadh today.
Earlier this week, King Abdullah directed that the summit be known as the “Sheikh Jaber Summit” in honor of the late Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah.
In his opening remarks, King Abdullah said that the summit is a chance to review the accomplishments of last year and what remains to be done. There have been good accomplishments in the political and economic areas, but more remains to be done in the areas of peoples’ ambitions and what is necessary for today’s world, the King said.
And a review does not mean disappointment, but a renewal and strengthening of determination and resolution, he remarked. Dreams that seem impossible today might be accessible goals tomorrow with sincere intentions and effort, he said.
Turning to regional issues, King Abdullah noted that the region is beleaguered with dangers, and is a powder keg awaiting an igniting spark.
The issue of Palestine is a basic one that involves an aggressive occupation that fears no one, an international community that is a bystander to the bloody tragedy and dangerous differences among the Palestinian people, he said.
In Iraq, the killing continues, pushing that beloved country to the verge of sedition and disunity, the King noted. And in Lebanon, there are dark clouds that threaten the country’s unity and warnings of a new slide towards disunity among the Lebanese people.
King Abdullah said that in the Gulf region, a number of issues require action, and ambiguity still mars some policies. These matters require the Arab Gulf region to act together and speak with one voice. With this voice we can assist our brothers in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon and support the Arab and Islamic nation everywhere, he stated.
There have been great strides in GCC economic integration, King Abdullah said, but complete economic unity and the situation in which a GCC citizen receives the same treatment throughout the Gulf as at home is still a long way away. Real obstacles remain, with reservations on the part of almost every member country. The dream of economic unity should not be forgotten for with it, the GCC states are a force that can never be ignored, the King concluded.
Prior to opening the summit, King Abdullah met with each of the visiting GCC leaders to welcome them and to discuss various items on the summit’s agenda.
The Kingdom’s delegation to the summit includes Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Miteb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Labor Ghazi Al-Gosaibi, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Minister of Culture and Information Iyad Madani.