GCC Foreign Ministers meet in Riyadh

March 4, 2012

The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded their 122nd ordinary ministerial session, presided over by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, in Riyadh this evening.

In his opening address, the Saudi Foreign Minister hailed the leading role played by the GCC in dealing with the turmoil that began sweeping the Arab world last year. He recalled that when the Arab League moved to deal with the crises in Libya, Yemen and Syria, the GCC states were at the forefront of the effort. Prince Saud confirmed that the GCC is always committed to helping Arab countries avoid falling into the trap of internal struggles and the dangers of sectarian and geographical differences. He also underscored the importance of living up to the aspirations of the people, who desire dignity and liberty and hate oppression and revenge.

Following the meeting, a press statement on the outcome of the session was issued. It noted that the participants were briefed on a report submitted by the panel assigned to study the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to create a GCC Union. The ministers were also briefed on the proceedings of the 91st meeting of the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee, the 30th meeting of the Petroleum Cooperation Committee, and the 72nd conference of GCC Health Ministers.

Regarding terrorism, the statement reaffirmed the GCC’s firm position rejecting violence and extremism in all its forms, whatever the incentives, excuses or sources. It lauded the actions taken by member countries to support regional and international counterterrorism efforts.

On the subject of Iran, the Ministerial Council expressed profound sorrow for the continuation of Iranian interference into the domestic affairs of GCC member countries and demanded that Tehran abide by the policies and practices of good neighborliness and respect for international norms. It also called for Iran to show absolute cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and advocated a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

Addressing the Palestinian situation, the statement praised the reconciliation agreement reached between Palestinian factions in Doha last month and lauded the recognition by some countries of the state of Palestine. It condemned the continuation of Israeli-settlement building and the siege of Gaza.

On Yemen, the Council welcomed the successful presidential election and wished the winner, Abdrabbou Mansour Hadi, every success. It backed the new leader’s call for national dialogue based on the GCC initiative.

The Council confirmed its commitment to Iraq's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and underscored the importance of achieving lasting political reconciliation.

On the situation in Syria, the statement expressed disappointment over the failure of the United Nations Security Council to endorse an Arab League resolution condemning the tragic massacre being carried out against civilians. It welcomed the convening of the International Conference for the Friends of the Syrian People, held in Tunis on February 24, and called upon the world community to take measures to support the will and demands of the Syrian people for change.

Finally, the Council praised both the signing of a non-aggression agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on February 10 and the holding of the London Conference on Somalia on February 23.