GCC foreign ministers meet in Jeddah

September 3, 2008

GCC signs strategic cooperation agreement with Turkey

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers held their 108th meeting in Jeddah yesterday. Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal led the Saudi delegation.

At a meeting attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, the ministers discussed a number of key regional issues including the situation in Palestine, Iraq and the Iranian nuclear file. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the GCC and Turkey that aims to enhance cooperation in the economic, trade, investment, defense, security, cultural and energy areas.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, the GCC ministers welcomed ongoing negotiations between Iran and the West and highlighted the importance of resolving disputes through peaceful means. They called for a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction and reiterated the right of nations to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes within the framework of international law.

Regarding Iraq, they stressed the importance of preserving Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and independence and called for national reconciliation as well as noninterference in Iraqi internal affairs.

Turning to the Middle East peace process, the GCC called for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza and to settlements in the Palestinian territories. They also urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel to comply with UN resolutions and expressed support for the resumption of Israeli-Syrian peace talks under Turkish patronage.

On other issues, the ministers reiterated their condemnation of terrorism and expressed support for all regional and international counterterrorism efforts. They welcomed measures taken by Yemen to implement development in that country and praised a proposal for strategic dialogue with China.

They also called on Iran to resolve the dispute with the UAE over the three disputed Arabian Gulf islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa. The GCC supports the UAE’s claim to the islands.

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