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GCC Summit wrapped up

posted on 11/12/2006: 762 views

Riyadh - Leaders of the GCC States have concluded their 27th Summit yesterday here by taking practical steps toward closer cooperation amongst their bloc and making earnest calls for peace and security for the region and beyond.

Concluding a two-day summit here, the leaders of the six member states endorsed a number of recommendations that are set to boost the progress of economic integration between the member states.

The Summit's economic resolutions are intended to expedite a number of integration programmes, including a customs union, a common market, a monetary union, and common legislations.

On the political agenda, the Summit reiterated its unequivocal support of the right of the UAE to restore its sovereignty over the three islands of the Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, as well as the territorial waters, air space, continental enclave and the economic zone of the islands.

Deploring lack of progress toward settlement of this issue through direct, regional, or international contacts, the Council called on Iran to respond to the endeavours of the UAE and the international community to resolve the issue either through direct negotiations or by referring it to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

On the Iranian nuclear programme, the Council called for a peaceful settlement of the stand off and urged Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), adhere to international security and safety standards and address the environmental concerns.

The Council also urged Israel to join the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty and open up its nuclear facilities for international inspection through IAEA. It called on the international community to pressurize Israel to heed to these demands.

The leaders also called for keeping the Middle East, including the GCC region, free of weapons of mass destruction, without prejudice to the right of the states of the region to acquiring nuclear know-how for peaceful purposes within the bounds of international accords. In this respect, the Council commissioned a study into creating a GCC programme for nuclear technology for peaceful purposes pursuant to the international standards.

On Iraq, the Council called on all parties to respect and preserve Iraq's unity, sovereignty and national identity and to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs. It emphasised that national conciliation was the key to restoring stability there.

Denouncing the ceaseless acts of terror, manslaughter, sectarian violence that have claimed thousands of innocent lives, the Council urged the Iraqi Government to disband militias and put an end to all causes of tension.

On Palestine, the Council decried the persistent Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people, citing the egregious massacre of Bait Hanoun that claimed scores of innocent lives. It urged the international community to take a swift action to put an end to these atrocities and to reactivate the peace process based on the Arab Peace Initiative, the Road Map, and international resolutions.

In this respect, the Council lauded the UN General Assembly's denunciation of Israel's massacre in Bait Hanoun. It also called on the Palestinians to close ranks and set up a national unity government to bring about peace and security. The Council reaffirmed its belief that a comprehensive peace could only be realized by the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al Quds as its capital, and Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the 4th of June 1967 borders and from Shabaa Farms in Southern Lebanon.

In this context, the leaders welcomed the ceasefire between the Palestinians and the Israelis as an important step toward dialogue and reviving the peace process. They expressed hope that the agreement would put an end to violence and counter violence, and open the way for the set up of a national unity government to help lift the infamous siege on the Palestinian people.

The Council decried the recurrence of violence in Lebanon, as manifested by the unfortunate assassination of Minister Pierre Al Gumayyel. Such terrorist acts, the leaders argued, could only aggravate discord among the Lebanese factions. The Council reiterated its commitment to lending political and economic support to Lebanon. They called on the Lebanese to adhere to constitutional legitimacy and resort to dialogue in order to save their country from drifting into lawlessness.

On developments in Sudan, the Council called on the Government and all factions to resort to dialogue. The leaders also urged the international community to extend all assistance possible to help reach a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Darfur, particularly since the Sudanese Government has adopted several positive steps. The Council lauded the efforts of the Arab League, the African union, and the United Nations, toward reaching a solution that would spare Sudan the prospect of a possible diplomatic and economic showdown with the international community.

The Council also appealed to the Somali factions to sit on the negotiation table to reach a conciliatory solution that would spare their country more sufferings and division of ranks.

The Council welcomed the appointment of Brigadier (Staff) Khalifa Humaid Sai'ed Al Ka'abi, from the UAE Armed Forces, as assistant secretary general for military Affairs at the GCC Secretariat General. It thanked its predecessor, Major General (staff) Ali bin Salem Al Ma'mari for his efforts during the last six years, which saw the creation of the joint defence council and new mechanisms for military cooperation between member states.

The Council also praised the efforts of the outgoing Un Secretary General Kofi Anan in pursuing the causes of international peace and security, and welcomed his successor, Ban Ki-moon, wishing him success in his mission.

Finally, the Council expressed its deep appreciation to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the significant achievements scored during his tenure as Chairman of the 26th session of the Supreme Council.

The leaders also thanked the host of the current session, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, for the warm hospitality accorded to them. And in appreciation of the efforts of the GCC Secretary General, Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah, the Council decided to retain him for another 3-yaer term, starting from April 2008. The next GCC will be held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman in December 2007, at the invitation of H.M. Sultan Qabous bin Saeed. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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