34th GCC Supreme Council Summit concludes in Kuwait
December 11, 2013
The leaders and heads of delegations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states concluded the 34th GCC Supreme Council Summit in Kuwait today. Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz led the Saudi delegation to the meeting, which was also attended by Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa; Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum; Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said; and GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani.
The official delegation accompanying the Crown Prince to the GCC Summit included Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal; Chief of the Crown Prince’s Court Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz; Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi; Minister of State Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban; Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf; and Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, Secretary General Al-Zayani delivered a final communique, the “Kuwait Declaration,” addressing many aspects of GCC cooperation.
The communique noted that the Gulf leaders approved a series of rules aimed at further integrating GCC financial markets and continuing joint projects. They reviewed the progress made towards the establishment of a monetary union and a common market, as well as the linkage of water, electricity, and security infrastructure.
In the security field, the leaders agreed on the creation of a joint military command and police force. They approved a proposal for the establishment of a Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies in the UAE and noted the laying of the foundation stone for a Center for Maritime Security in Bahrain. The communique reiterated the GCC countries firm rejection of terrorism and extremism, predicting that the creation of a GCC police organization will “boost security and help expand security and anti-terror cooperation and coordination among member states.” It lauded “all regional and international efforts aiming to counter terrorism and terrorist organizations.”
Addressing relations with Iran, the communique welcomed the “new approach of the Iranian leadership towards the countries of the GCC countries” and hoped for “concrete steps” that “reflect positively on peace, security and stability of the region.” It stressed the importance of strengthening relations with Iran on the basis of good neighborliness, non-interference in internal affairs, and refraining from the use or threat of force. The GCC leaders welcomed the preliminary agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 regarding Iran’s nuclear program and expressed hope that the region may eventually be free of all weapons of mass destruction. They added that the agreement must be fully implemented under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The communique praised the stand taken by Saudi Arabia regarding UN Security Council reform, which reflects the Kingdom’s “historic concern over the Arab and Islamic worlds’ issues.” It called for changes to be made at the United Nations that would allow the body to be more effective and enjoy greater international legitimacy.
Regarding Syria, the communique condemned the regime of Bashar Al-Assad for committing genocide against the Syrian people using chemical and conventional weapons. It demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria and backed international efforts to issue a UN resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in order to secure humanitarian relief for the Syrian people. The GCC leaders called for the establishment of an interim government that does not include members of the current ruling regime and encouraged participation in the upcoming Geneva II summit.
Finally, the communique welcomed U.S. efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, while condemning Israel’s continued construction of illegal settlements in occupied territory. It stressed that a just and lasting peace will only be achieved through the creation of an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.