GCC Ministerial Council concludes 123rd meeting

June 6, 2012

The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded their 123rd meeting at the Conferences Palace in Jeddah yesterday under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal. The Council reviewed a number of issues regarding GCC cooperation, as well as regional and international events. In a final statement, the ministers reaffirmed their stance against all forms of terrorism and praised the outcome of the 2nd Meeting of the Advisory Council of the U.N. Counterterrorism Center; rejected Iran’s continued occupation of three UAE islands, as well as its interference into the internal affairs of GCC states; expressed continuing concern over the Iranian nuclear crisis and called for the establishment of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction; stressed the importance of the creation of a Palestinian state, which can only be achieved by an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories; called on Iraq to comply with all U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding missing Kuwaiti citizens and property and encouraged Iraqi national reconciliation; endeavored upon the international community to take immediate action to stop the bloodshed in Syria; praised Egypt’s presidential election; expressed concern about the recent sectarian violence in Lebanon; commended the outcome of the Friends of Yemen Conference, which took place in Riyadh on May 23; and expressed hope that Sudan and South Sudan will resolve their problems by following an agreed-upon roadmap.

Afterwards, Prince Saud held a press conference in which he noted that the crisis in Syria topped the issues discussed during the meeting. He insisted that the international community, and in particular the U.N. Security Council, must take responsibility and end the worsening violence. Regarding Russia’s position on the issue, Prince Saud said, “There is sympathy with Russia in the Arab arena. We hope it doesn’t lose this and worsen its relationship with the Arab world because the position it has recently taken in the Security Council has no justification.” He continued, “If Russia is keen on its relationship with Syria, I think it is wrong to stand in front of the Syrian people, who sacrifice and suffer in order to achieve their goals, and that must affect the policy of Russia. Otherwise, it will lose a lot of its influence in the international arena.”

On Kofi Annan’s peace plan, Prince Saud stated, “We have started to lose hope in the possibility of reaching a solution in this way unless the Security Council adopts a resolution, according to Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, that provides for the application of Annan’s Six-Point Peace Plan for Syria.” He expressed hope that the report, which is set to be submitted by Annan to the U.N. in a month, is clear and frank and does not cover up the atrocities experienced by the citizens of Syria.