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GCC Ministerial Meeting in session

posted on 04/06/2006: 823 views

Riyadh - Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council "GCC" began their 99th regular meeting at the GCC Secretariat General here. UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, who presided over the meeting in his capacity as the current chairman of the Ministerial Council, underlined the need for closer coordination "to develop an orchestrated approach to the challenges facing the region.”

Sheikh Abdullah praised the outcome of the 16th GCC-EU Ministerial meeting, and expressed hope that it would expedite the signing of a free trade agreement with the EU. The Minister said terrorism still ranked high among the challenges facing the states of the region. He welcomed the release of UAE diplomat Naji Al Nuaimi, and thanked the Iraqi Government and all political powers for their contribution to the efforts that led to his safe return from captivity.

Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Bahrain's initiative to serve as seat for an international anti-terrorism centre. He emphasized that the centre, proposed by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia at an international anti-terrorism conference held in Riyadh in February 2005, would play an instrumental role in combating terrorism.

The Minister noted that Iran was still occupying the UAE's Islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, in disregard of the efforts of the UAE, the GCC, and the world community to settle the conflict amicable through direct negotiations or arbitration before the International court of Justice. He expressed hope that Iran would respond positively to these initiatives.

"On the other hand, the GCC states are extremely alarmed at the developments on Iran's nuclear programme and the prospects of a leakage from the Iranian nuclear reactors, which might bring a major environmental catastrophe to the GCC countries," he said, urging Iran to "cooperate fully with IAEA and to come forward with more guarantees.”

"The GCC States call on all parties to solve the conflict through diplomatic means to spare the region more tension and instability. We reiterate our call for clearing the Middle East region, including the Arabian Gulf, of all weapons of mass destruction," the Minister said.

On Iraq, the Minister said the GCC States welcomed the formation of a new cabinet there, "which we hope would restore national unity, security and stability to the country". "We will continue to support Iraq to overcome its present ordeals and regain its active role in the Arab and international community," he added.

On Palestine, Sheikh Abdullah said the GCC states were following with deep concern the developments there." We call on all Palestinian parties to close ranks, renounce peace, and act in the best interest of the Palestinian people," he said.

"We urge all parties to comply with international resolutions, apply the road map and the Arab initiative, to spare the region more tension and violence. We also call on the international community to continue to support the Palestinian people." Following Sheikh Abdullah's inaugural speech, the Ministers met in-camera. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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