Joint Statement of the U.S.-GCC Foreign Ministers Meeting
The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Secretary General of the GCC, and United States Secretary of State John Kerry met today in Doha, Qatar, to discuss progress and draw their next steps on the GCC-US strategic partnership and areas of cooperation announced at Camp David on May 14, 2015.
The Ministers reviewed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, the conflict in Yemen and the need to reach a political solution there based on the Gulf CC Initiative and the outcome of the National Dialogue. They also discussed regional challenges referred to in this statement. The Ministers also reviewed the agenda of the fifth session of the GCC-US Strategic Cooperation Forum (SCF) which is scheduled to be held in New York in late September 2015.
The Ministers discussed the JCPOA in more details, including its restrictions, transparency, safeguards, access to any declared or undeclared nuclear facility enforcement mechanisms, and its regional implications. Emphasizing the position expressed at Camp David that “a comprehensive, verifiable agreement that fully addresses the regional and international concerns over Iran's nuclear program is in the interest of the security of GCC members states as well as the United States and the international community."
The Ministers agreed that, once fully implemented, JCPOA contributes to the region’s long-term security, including preventing Iran from developing or obtaining a military nuclear capability. The Ministers called on Iran to fully fulfill its obligations under JCPOA as well as its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Ministers reaffirmed the commitments that have been agreed upon at the Camp David summit that the United States and the GCC states share a deep and historic interests in the security of the region, including the political independence and territorial integrity of GCC member states from external aggression. The United States reaffirmed its commitment to working the GCC states to prevent and deter any external threats or aggression, and that in the event of such aggression or the threat of such aggression, the United States stands ready to work with its GCC partners to determine urgently the what action may be appropriate, using all means available at their collective disposal, including the potential use of military force, for the defense its GCC partners.
The Ministers expressed concern over the recent statements made by some Iranian officials, GCC member states and the United States reiterated their rejection to Iran's support for terrorism and its destabilizing activities in the region and pledge to work together to counter its interference, especially its attempts to undermine the security of and intervention in the internal affairs of the GCC member states, most recently in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Ministers stressed the need for all countries in the region to engage according to the principles of good neighborliness, and non-interference, and respect for territorial integrity.
The Ministers welcomed the return of Ministers and representatives of the legitimate Government of Yemen to Aden and called for the immediate end to the violence by the Houthis and forces of Ali Abdullah Saleh and a resumption of a fully inclusive, Yemeni-led peaceful political dialogue based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2216, and consistent with the framework of the GCC Initiative and the outputs of the National Dialogue Conference.
The Ministers emphasized that all of Yemen’s communities have an important roles to play in the country’s peaceful governance. The Ministers called for the speedy delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to all parts of Yemen without interference, impediments or delays in order to meet the urgent needs of all the Yemeni people.
The Ministers strongly condemned the violent and destabilizing attacks by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Daesh (ISIS), noting that these two groups are exploiting the instability in Yemen and posing threats to Yemenis and the region.
The Ministers expressed solidarity with the people of Iraqi as they combat the Daesh terrorist organization and agreed to intensify support and cooperation with the Government of Iraqi as it strives to address the needs of all its communities. The Ministers acknowledged the integral importance of an effective and inclusive Iraqi government, stressed the importance of implementing the reforms agreed to last summer, emphasized the need for capable security forces in the fight against Daesh, and agreed to take steps to maintain Iraq’s security and stability. The Ministers reiterated the importance of supporting humanitarian programs to assist those affected by the conflict.
The Ministers reaffirmed their call for a managed political transition in Syria, stressing that President Al-Assad’s regime has completely lost legitimacy. They stressed the necessarily for a new Syrian government that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people and promotes national unity, pluralism and human rights for all Syrian citizens. The Ministers noted the regime has demonstrated neither the will nor the capability to confront terrorist safe havens in Syria.
The Ministers also condemned the regime’s relentless violence against its own people, including the use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. The Ministers also reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, whose lives have been deeply affected by this crisis, and called upon the regime to allow the delivery of all needed assistance.
The Ministers condemned the barbaric crimes perpetrated by Daesh, including attacks on places of worship, and agreed that the campaign against Daesh is not a religious or sectarian issue, but rather a fight against terrorism and brutality. They agreed to map out concrete steps to defeat Daesh and establish security and stability, including by cutting the group’s sources of revenue, blocking travel of foreign fighters, and sharing information.
The United States and GCC member states strongly affirmed the necessity of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a just, lasting, comprehensive peace agreement that results in an independent and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. To that end, the United States and GCC member states underscored the enduring importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the urgent need for the parties to demonstrate-through policies and actions-genuine advancement of a two-state solution, and decided to remain closely engaged moving forward. The United States and GCC member states also recommitted to continue to fulfill aggressively their pledges made for Gaza’s reconstruction, to include pledges made at the October 2014 Cairo Conference.
The Ministers welcomed the July 11 initialing of a draft Libyan political agreement in Skhirat, Morocco, and praised the draft agreement as a credible road map to a national unity government in Libya, urging all parties to continue to engage constructively to reach a negotiated settlement within the UN framework led by Special Representative of the Secretary General Bernardino Leon. The Ministers call upon all Libyans to work toward a unified government that can combat the threat of transnational terrorist organizations and guarantee security and prosperity for all Libyans.
Applauding the historic importance of the Camp David summit, the Ministers vowed to continue working in collaboration to ensure peace and security in the region. They welcomed progress on urgent implementation of the full range of items agreed in the Annex to the U.S.-GCC Camp David Joint Statement, including ballistic missile defense, maritime security, cyber security, arms transfers, military preparedness, counterterrorism, and critical infrastructure protection. They agreed to continue building on the already strong foundation of military cooperation by improving coordination through joint exercises and military training. They expressed satisfaction at the results of their senior officials’ meeting, convened at the GCC in Riyadh on 9-10 June 2015, and noted upcoming working group meetings and military exercises to further advance shared goals and objectives, and stressed the need for integrated, whole-of-government approaches in achieving Camp David goals. The Ministers looked forward to reviewing progress at the fifth session of the GCC-U.S. Strategic Cooperation Forum (SCF) in September, and using the SCF mechanism to inform all U.S.-GCC engagements. The Ministers also called for the continuation of the work agreed upon to enhance partnerships between the two sides in all fields of cooperation. The Ministers reaffirmed the vital role that the SCF plays in strengthening the participants’ collective capability to meet challenges to regional security.