GCC Manama summit concludes with calls for greater cooperation

December 25, 2012

The leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States concluded today the 33rd session of the Supreme Council of GCC leaders under the chairmanship of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the President of the current session.

On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense headed the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Summit.

The GCC Secretary General, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani, then, read the final statement of the Summit which expressed its deep appreciation and gratitude for the great, genuine and sincere efforts made b King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, during his tenure as President of the 32nd session of the Supreme Council, and its important achievements.

The Supreme Council praised Allah Almighty for the successful surgery which King Abdullah has recently undergone, wishing him constant good health and happiness to complement his leading roles in the service of Saudi Arabia and its people and his support for the blessed march of the Council.

The Council appreciated the speech of King Abdullah in which he stated his commitment to the blessed march of the Member States and the transition from cooperation stage to the Union in a strong coherent entity that meets the aspirations of the citizens of the GCC member states.

In continuation of the King's efforts in the service of Arab, Islamic and international issues, the Supreme Council welcomed the opening of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Cultural Dialogue, which opened in Vienna, Austria, to promote the values of dialogue and the fight against extremism.

On the basis of the keenness of the GCC leaders to promote joint cooperation, and accomplish the full GCC citizenship, the Supreme Council reviewed the recommendations and follow-up reports submitted by the Ministerial Council.

It also discussed regional and international issues, in the light of the rapid events and developments in the region and the world and took the necessary decisions as follows:

First: the March of Joint Action:

The Supreme Council valued steps that have been taken to give effect to its decisions on the joint action with regard to the areas set out in Article III of the Economic Agreement, and stressed the need to work to strengthen the spirit of citizenship of the citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council in various fields.

Deepening the economic integration among the Member States, and in order to effectuate decisions by the Supreme Council thereon, it discussed the economic situation in the GCC countries and expressed satisfaction with the significant growth witnessed by their economies, and what was achieved of the comprehensive development in various sectors.

The Supreme Council directed committees to quickly implement the provisions in the economic agreement on unifying fiscal and monetary policies, and integration of infrastructure and enhancing the productive capacities so as to ensure availability of job opportunities for citizens, and tasked the financial and economic cooperation Commission to provide practical programs with timelines for the transition to the new horizons of integration and economic integration among the GCC countries, in order to achieve the desired goal.

In the interest of the Supreme Council to achieve the aspirations of young people in the GCC countries, the Supreme Council directed to conduct a comprehensive study to identify the programs implemented in various youth activities and issues of families and childhood in the GCC countries and hold a comprehensive seminar in this regard.

The Supreme Council also reviewed the process of joint cooperation through the reports and recommendations of the Ministerial Council, ministerial committees and the Secretariat in this regard and decided to take note of the follow-up reports before it and adopt all laws (regulations) in various areas of the joint action.

The Supreme Council endorsed resolutions by the joint defense council and blessed the creation of a unified military command for coordination, planning and leadership of the dedicated and additional ground, naval and air forces, and the decision to approve the treatment of employees of the armed forces and their families in the GCC countries, who are sent on official tasks or participate in training courses in the Member States in military hospitals.

The Supreme Council also approved the security agreement of the GCC countries, as amended and signed by their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Interior in their 31st meeting on November 13, 2012, stressing the importance of intensifying cooperation in particular with respect to the exchange of information among security agencies in the Member States.

The Supreme Council asserted the firm positions of Member States to renounce terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever the motives and justifications, and whatever its source.

It condemned the outrageous terrorist bombings that occurred recently in the city of Manama, Bahrain, and killed a number of innocent people, praising the constructive role of the Government of Bahrain and its comprehensive dealing with events, stressing full solidarity with Bahrain in its efforts to maintain its national unity and consolidate security and stability.

The Supreme Council welcomed the opening of the International Centre of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism (Hidayah) in Abu Dhabi where experts and expertise are pooled from various countries in order to combat all sorts and phenomena of violent extremism.

The Supreme Council expressed gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the consultative body and ratified its views pertaining to youth strategy, boosting of the spirit of citizenship, the strategy of employment in the GCC states in the governmental and private sectors and referring these views to the relevant ministerial committees in order to set up implementation mechanism for this purpose.

The Supreme Council decided that the Consultative Body shall assume the following tasks during its sixteenth session:

1- Studying the creation of a regulatory authority for food and drug in the GCC states.
2- Studying the creation of a joint GCC specialized center for public and preventative health.
3- Studying and appraisal of the media strategy of the GCC states and developing it.
4- Mechanisms to combat corruption and remove obstacles before development in the GCC
    states and its relation with the set of values.
5- Assessing the reality of children's cultural programs and how to develop them.

The Supreme Council instructed implementation of what has already been agreed during joint meetings with countries and economic blocs in order to achieve common interests of the GCC and its partners.

The Supreme Council reiterated its firm stance as per previous statements rejecting the Iranian occupation of the UAE's three Islands namely: (Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa), asserting the right to supremacy on the three islands and regional territorial waters, airspace and continental cliff and free economic zone which form an integral and inseparable part of the United Arab Emirates.

The Supreme Council expressed sorrow because no positive results could be reached through communications with the Islamic Republic of Iran as to culminate in a solution for the issue of the three UAE's islands so as to contribute into boosting the security and stability of the region.

Any acts or practices implemented by Iran on the three islands will be deemed null and void and should not entail any change in legal or historic status of the Islands which confirm the right of supremacy of the United Arab Emirates over its three Islands.

The Supreme Council did not rule out considering all peaceful means which could lead to reinstating the right of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands, inviting the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to the UAE's efforts to solve the issue through direct negotiations or resorting to the International Court of Justice.

The Supreme Council rejected and denounced continual Iranian interference in the GCC states' internal affairs and urged Iran to immediately stop these practices for good and to refrain from policies and acts which increase tension or threaten regional security and stability. The Supreme Council emphasized the need for Iran's full compliance with the principles of good neighborliness and mutual respect and non-intervention in internal affairs and solving disputes by peaceful means without resorting to force or threats.

The Supreme Council asserted that the Iranian nuclear program does not only threaten regional security and stability but also international security and stability, urging Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and renewed the GCC firm stance regarding the significant need for Iran's compliance in order to make the Middle East region, including the Arabian Gulf region, free from weapons of mass destruction as well as from nuclear weapons, praising international efforts aimed to solve the Iranian nuclear program through peaceful means.

The Supreme Council affirmed the right of countries, including Iran, to harnessing peaceful nuclear energy on condition of responsibility of the operating country for the safety of its nuclear facility whilst taking into consideration environmental safety in the large geographic region and the need to fully comply with standards of safety and security and non-nuclear proliferation. Now that Iran began operating the Bushehr nuclear reactor, the GCC countries urge Iran to maintain full transparency vis-à-vis this matter and to join the agreement on nuclear safety and enforce maximum safety standards in its facilities.

The Supreme Council reviewed latest developments on the Syrian arena, under continually deteriorating conditions and the human suffering of the brotherly Syrian people. The Council expressed utmost pain and grief towards continuous bloodshed and loss of innocent lives, destruction of cities and infrastructures which necessitates a speedy political power transition. The Council urged the international community to move seriously in order to promptly stop these massacres and blatant violations which contradict with all heavenly commandments, international laws and human values.

The Supreme Council asserted its support to the Syrian National Coalition which is the sole lawful representative of the Syrian people formed in Doha in November 2012 under the kind patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, the Emir of the State of Qatar and auspices of the Arab League, urging the international community to urgently provide all sorts of humanitarian assistance to the brotherly Syrian people who suffer from harsh living conditions.

The Supreme Council expressed its support to the mission of the UN Arab Envoy to Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, provided that this gains consensus from the UN Security Council especially its permanent members, in accordance with the powers and responsibilities of the UN Security Council in maintaining international security and stability.

The Supreme Council explored latest developments of the Palestinian issue, asserting that permanent fair and comprehensive peace cannot be achieve except after Israel's full withdrawal from Arab territories it has occupied since 1976 in Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights and Lebanon and the establishing of an independent Palestinian State whose capital should be in eastern Al-Quds (Jerusalem), which are the same principles embodied in the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UN resolutions.

The Supreme Council congratulated the brotherly Palestinian people on winning the status of a UN nonmember observer state, and hoped that this will be a step forward towards creating the Palestinian State with its capital in eastern Al-Quds, urging the Palestinian factions to unite their ranks and end the divisions in order to serve the highest interest of the Palestinian people.

The Council condemned Israeli colonial policies aimed to change the geographic and demographic condition on Palestinian territories which constitute inhumane unethical crime and a serious breach of international laws which should not entail any legal impact in favor of Israel.

The Council welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza brokered by the Arab Republic of Egypt and called to boost this agreement in order to avoid any recurrence of hostile Israeli acts and urged the world community to ensure provision and delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza Strip.

The Supreme Council was informed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa about the message he had received from Yemeni President Abdourabou Mansour Hadi regarding accomplishment of the GCC Initiative for Yemen's part one who thanked the GCC leaders for protecting Yemen from the ghost of civil war and solving its problem.

The Council praised the Yemeni President's recent resolution in favor of restricting the Yemeni armed forces as part of the GCC Initiative and its executive mechanism in a key step aimed to boost security and stability in Yemen.

The Supreme Council looks forward to Yemen's implementation of the second phase of the GCC Imitative for Yemen after convening the national dialogue with participation from all segments of the Yemeni people and their concurring on what is in the best interest of Yemen and its unity, security and stability.

The Supreme Council reiterated its previous resolutions and firm stances vis-a-vis Iran in terms of respecting its territorial integrity and independence, urging Iraq to comply with UN resolutions regarding its borders and pending issues with the State of Kuwait.

The Supreme Council condemned massacres, ethnic cleansing, violations of human rights, and deportations against Muslim Rohingya people of Myanmar. The Supreme Council tasked the Ministerial Council to start consultations with countries of that region in order to find a solution to this crisis.

In conclusion of the meeting, the Supreme Council expressed utmost gratitude and appreciation to King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council, the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain for their cordial reception and generous hospitality and noble feelings they have exerted in favor of their brethren the leaders and members of GCC delegations.

Their Majesties and Highnesses welcomed the invitation extended by Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, inviting them to attend the 34th GCC Summit of the Supreme Council in the State of Kuwait in 2013.

Final communiqué (Sakhir Declaration)