Prince Saud holds press conference to discuss GCC agenda

November 24, 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states have no expansionist aims or desire to interfere in the internal affairs of other states, but they are prepared to defend themselves from terrorism and foreign plots, said Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal. Speaking at a joint press conference with GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif -Zayani following a GCC Ministerial Council meeting held in Riyadh yesterday, Prince Saud stressed the importance of cooperation in the face of a rapidly changing world. He stated that the GCC Ministerial Council is taking the initiative to prevent further civil conflicts that could lead to more Arab bloodshed. “We have already witnessed hours ago the singing of a GCC sponsored-accord to end the crisis in Yemen,” he stated, expressing hope that it will “put an end to the strife and take Yemen back to its previous status as the cradle of civilizations.”

Asked about efforts to end the Syrian crisis, Prince Saud said that an Arab initiative to deal with the conflict has been put forward for Syria to accept. While the Syrian government accepted it at first, he explained, it later attempted to alter the entire framework. Urging Syria to accept the Arab League plan, he warned that prolonged bloodshed could lead to the internationalization of the crisis. The Foreign Minister also urged Saudi citizens to leave Syria or to postpone their travel plans to that country.

Regarding the Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Saud stressed that the threat was not only directed against the Kingdom, but also against international law and diplomatic relations themselves. Noting that Iran has a history of breaching foreign embassies, he urged the international community to take concrete measures to prevent further incidents.

Answering a question on consultations with Jordan and Morocco on GCC membership, Prince Saud said that gradual steps are being taken on the road towards full membership. Noting the problems brought about by the rapid expansion of the European Union (EU), he insisted that the GCC does not want to repeat those mistakes.

On Bahrain, Prince Saud reported that the GCC Council reviewed the report released by an independent inquiry tasked with investigating the country’s unrest earlier this year. He praised the Bahraini leadership for its transparency and sincerity and expressed satisfaction with the developments.

Finally, Prince Saud said that once Libya has formed a new government, the GCC countries will normalize relations and exchange ambassadors with their fellow Arab nation.