GGC to set up joint defence system
Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat – In a statement issued on Tuesday at the end of a two-day summit of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), GCC leaders demanded an immediate halt to Iran’s “interference” in their internal affairs.
“The council expressed its rejection and condemnation of the continuing Iranian interference in the affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s states and called on Iran to stop these policies,” the joint statement said.
The six member council made up of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, also condemned Iran’s “continued occupation of the three Emirati islands” of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which are located in the strategic Strait of Hormuz entrance to the Gulf.
On the conflict in Syria, the statement, read by GCC Secretary-General Abdulatif al-Zayani, asked, “the international community for serious and swift moves to stop these massacres and these severe attacks that contradict all religions and international laws and humanitarian principles.”
The GCC called on the international community “to provide all forms of urgent humanitarian aid” for the people of Syria.
GCC leaders also stressed the importance to move toward a Gulf Union and the development of a “common defense system”.
“The summit has agreed to establish a joint military command for member countries’ naval, air and ground forces. They have also endorsed the GCC security pact,” GCC Secretary-General Al-Zayani said.
Referring to the joint defence system, the leaders affirmed their commitment to “The principle of joint collective security through the development of military capabilities and self-development of each of the GCC states and the commitment to promote the development of the Common Defence System to defend the achievements of the states.”
It was also announced that GCC countries and other donors have agreed to give $ 8 billion for the reconstruction of Yemen. The GCC will also help Yemen to strengthen its security.
Meanwhile, the Sakhir Declaration issued at the end of the summit emphasized the importance of GCC transforming into a single entity in response to the aspirations of the GCC citizens and meet the challenges they face. It stressed that an attack on any GCC state would be considered as an attack on them all, and that any threat on one of them would be considered as a threat on all member states.
The summit leaders affirmed their commitment to implementing all the decisions for GCC’s integration in all areas, and their compliance with the timetable for the establishment of the Gulf common market, adding that they would work to remove impediments to the application of the GCC Customs Union.
The declaration also noted the steps that have been taken to implement the decision of the Supreme Council on the timetable for achieving the common Gulf market and joint developments with regard to the areas stipulated in Article III of the Economic Agreement, especially in the areas of movement and residence for GCC nationals, the practice of trades and professions, movement of capital, tax measures, equality of treatment between nationals of the GCC in receiving education, health, social services, employment in government and private sectors, and social insurance and retirement.
The summit stressed the need to promote the spirit of citizenship among GCC nationals through familiarization with the council’s activities, achieving full Gulf citizenship to strengthen the social and family fabric and ties of kinship and cohesion, facilitating economic activity for GCC citizens, and intensifying communication between the Shura and National Councils in member states.
The summit welcomed the opening of the Vienna-based King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue to promote a culture of dialogue and fight extremism. The leaders condemned the outrageous terrorist bombings that occurred recently in the city of Manama, Bahrain that killed a number of innocent people, 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 Excellence Center for Curbing Violent Extremism (Hidayah) in Abu Dhabi where experts and expertise are pooled from various countries in order to combat extremism.
The summit affirmed the right of countries, including Iran, to harness peaceful nuclear energy on the condition that the operating country adopt responsibility 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.