Statement issued by Arab foreign ministers and Secretary Rice on July 31, 2007

July 31, 2007

The following statement was issued by the United States and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE following their meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on July 31, 2007.

The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Egypt, Jordan, and the United States met today in Sharm El-Sheikh to consult as partners and friends and to coordinate their efforts to promote regional peace and security. The participants reaffirmed their shared vision of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Middle East and their commitment to work together to achieve this common goal. This meeting follows the meetings previously held in New York, Cairo, at the Dead Sea and in Kuwait City.

The participants emphasized the importance of dialogue and diplomacy and affirmed that disputes among states should be settled peacefully and in a manner consistent with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, and that relations among all countries should be based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, and on the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations.

The participants expressed their steadfast support to any Gulf states in facing external threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Agreeing that the peace and security of the Gulf region are critical to the health of the global economy and international stability and the need to continue the stability of the Gulf as a vital national interest for all, the participants resolved to continue their longstanding cooperation against such threats.

Agreeing on the importance of a just, comprehensive peace to the prosperity, stability and security of the Middle East, the Foreign Ministers reiterated their commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and noted that the foundation for such an outcome includes UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397, and 1515, and the Arab Peace Initiative, to end the occupation since 1967 and establish a Palestinian state that is viable and contiguous and living in peace and security with all its neighbors. They also emphasized the work of the International Quartet in this context.

The participants expressed deep concern about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza, and affirmed the necessity of continuing assistance and support to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Abbas and his government. Participants denounced all acts of violence and called for law and order under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.

The participants urged Israel and the Palestinians to meet all previous commitments. They undertook to support efforts to create an environment conducive to progress on the bilateral tracks for a just and comprehensive settlement and in that context welcomed the joint visit by the Egyptian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers to Israel on July 25, 2007, to discuss the Arab Peace Initiative as mandated by the Arab League’s Arab Peace Initiative Follow-up Committee.

The participants welcomed the commitment expressed by U.S. President George W. Bush in his July 16, 2007, speech to strengthen political and diplomatic efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state, and promised to support efforts to this end.

The participants reaffirmed the sovereignty; territorial integrity, political independence, and national unity of Iraq; the inviolability of Iraq’s internationally recognized borders; and their adherence to the principle of noninterference in Iraq’s internal affairs. To this end, participants confirmed their commitment to full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1511, 1546, 1618, 1637 and 1723, urged all of Iraq’s neighbors to also fully impellent these resolutions, and called for an end to all interference in Iraq, including supply of arms and training to the militia and extra-governmental armed groups.

While calling on the government of Iraq to respect its commitments, the participants underlined the urgency and importance of implementing the principles agreed upon in Sharm El-Sheikh during the May 2007 Ministerial Conference of the Neighbouring Countries of Iraq and Egypt with the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and the G-8, and reiterated their commitment to prevent the transit of terrorists to Iraq, arms for terrorists and financing that would support terrorists and for strengthening cooperation in this regard, and called on all of Iraq’s neighbors to take all necessary steps to interdict such transit, and call on Iraq and its neighbors to exchange information regarding the fight against terrorism.


Acknowledging that a unified, democratic, and stable Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors and itself is a shared, critical objective, the participants pledged to continue to support Iraq, and expand their financial and political support. The participants agreed that the international community also must demonstrate its support for Iraq, including through the International Compact with Iraq, and that all of these efforts must supplement Iraq’s own efforts.

Underscoring that every political community leader in Iraq has a role to play in national reconciliation efforts, the ministers called on all Iraqis to work together through the political process to build a brighter common future. They reiterated to the Iraqi government the need to undertake national reconciliation efforts by ensuring a fair and inclusive political process that engages all Iraqis, fosters economic reform, and provides security and services to all Iraqis. The participants called for the disbanding of all militia immediately in order for Iraqi security forces to grow stronger and for an immediate cessation of all acts of terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq that exacerbate the suffering of the Iraqi people and undermine regional security and stability. Participants encouraged the Arab League and the United Nations to continue their effort to work with the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people to help Iraq’s leaders forge a common national vision that will advance Iraqi national reconciliation.

Recognizing the grave threat posted to regional and global security by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and wishing to avoid a destabilizing nuclear arms race in the region, the participants concur that it is important to achieve the universality of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and for all parties to comply with it fully, and with all relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, including resolutions 1737 and 1747. The participants recognize the goal of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

With regard to Iran’s nuclear activities, the participants reiterated their strong support for international diplomatic efforts and called on Iran to comply with international diplomatic efforts and called on Iran to comply with all its NPT obligations, including its safeguards obligations. They hope that the talks between the IEA and the government of Iran will be positively pursued. The participants also reiterated the rights of all the parties to the Treaty to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with the nonproliferation obligations in Articles I, II, and III of the Treaty.

The participants reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, resolved to maintain a united front against the terrorist elements that have targeted the Middle East and threaten the states and peoples of the region, and reaffirmed the United National Security Council’s declaration on the global effort to combat terrorism, adopted by resolution 1377, including its “unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of all their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, whenever and by whomever committed.”

The ministers also endorsed the March 2007 Riyadh Declaration’s call to “promote the culture of moderation, tolerance, dialogue, and openness, and reject all forms of terrorism, fanaticism, and extremism, as well as all forms of exclusionist racism, the campaigns of hatred and distortion, and attempts to cast doubt on our humanitarian values or harm the religious beliefs and sacred places, and warn against the use of sectarianism for political ends with the aim of dividing the nation, driving a wedge between its states and peoples, and igniting destructive civil strife and conflicts in them.”

The participants reaffirmed their support for a sovereign democratic, and prosperous Lebanon, and for Lebanon’s legitimate government, headed by Prime Minister Siniora. They encouraged the Lebanese parties to support the efforts towards resuming national dialogue and noted the imperative of full implementation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 1559, 1680, 1701, and 1757. They also took note of the recent report of the U.N.’s border assessment team.

They called on all Lebanese factions and regional parties to respect the legitimate political process and to refrain from any activities to destabilize this process. The participants strongly condemned all terrorist attacks in Lebanon, including the recent assassination of Lebanese Member of Parliament Walid Eido. Participants lauded the efforts of the Lebanese Armed Forces in its fight against violent armed groups, such as Fatah al-Islam, which are determined to spread terror, and undermine Lebanese stability. Finally, the participants called for the respect of the Lebanese constitution including the holding of free and fair presidential elections held on-time, and the establishment of Lebanese national unity behind a constitutional process to elect a new president.