GCC leaders emphasize commitment to Arab Peace Initiative

May 20, 2008

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held their 10th consultative meeting at Al-Khaleej Palace in Dammam today.

The Saudi delegation was led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani presided over the meeting, with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Al-Nahayan, King Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Omani Deputy Premier Fahd Al-Saeed and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah also participating.

In a press conference after the meeting, GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah said that the leaders emphasized their commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for a just and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  They warned against the danger posed by Israel’s persistence in ignoring Arab and international peace overtures, its defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, the expansion of Jewish settlements and the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Al-Attiyah said that the GCC leaders emphasized the need to find a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear crisis on the basis of international legitimacy. They reiterated their call for a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction and stressed the right of GCC countries to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

On Iraq, the GCC leaders emphasized the importance of safeguarding the country’s Arab identity, unity and independence, and rejected any attempt to divide the country. It also called for noninterference in Iraq’s internal affairs and expressed support for any effort to achieve national reconciliation.

The summit also addressed other issues in the region, including Darfur and Somalia. It condemned the attack on Khartoum by rebels, saying the attack was aimed at undermining Sudan’s security and stability. The summit leaders voiced their solidarity with the Sudanese government and stressed that a solution to the Darfur crisis must be reached through dialogue and national reconciliation. They also urged Somali factions to end their violence and work for national unity.

Al-Attiyah said GCC leaders also discussed King Abdullah’s proposal to strengthen the Peninsula Shield forces. They also expressed support for the agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar allowing their citizens to travel between the two countries using ID cards and welcomed an agreement between Qatar and Bahrain to build a causeway.