Amir calls for con­certed re­sponse to int’l changes

Bri­tish PM joins Gulf sum­mit for post-Brexit talks

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

MANAMA: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said yes­ter­day the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil sum­mit comes amid rapid in­ter­na­tional changes and crit­i­cal con­di­tions that ne­ces­si­tate con­tin­u­ing con­sul­ta­tions and joint co­or­di­na­tion to con­sider and pre­clude rel­e­vant re­flec­tions on GCC coun­tries. Ad­dress­ing the 37th GCC sum­mit in Manama, the Amir said that the re­gion is cur­rently faced with grave chal­lenges, where on the eco­nomic front, dwin­dling oil prices are a ma­jor con­cern.

HH the Amir also added that there needs to be a shift in na­tional ide­olo­gies, to­gether with fresh fields of co­op­er­a­tion in or­der to cope with these chal­lenges. He spoke of notable achieve­ments brought about by joint GCC work, which in­cludes eco­nomic gains that rep­re­sent the as­pi­ra­tions of GCC cit­i­zens. He also high­lighted the need for in­creased strate­gies to bol­ster GCC co­op­er­a­tion in an ef­fort to amass fur­ther ac­com­plish­ments that will re­in­force sol­i­dar­ity among the Gulf na­tions.

More­over, on the scourge of ter­ror­ism, Sheikh Sabah said that it poses a threat to re­gional se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity, which calls for con­certed ef­forts to elim­i­nate this mount­ing threat. On Ye­men, HH the Amir re­counted that Kuwait had hosted peace talks that aimed to re­store peace in the war-torn na­tion, lament­ing that the war­ring par­ties failed to rec­on­cile, which in­duced fur­ther blood­shed.

On Syria, the Amir said that the GCC com­mis­er­ates with the peo­ple of Syria, un­der­scor­ing firm sup­port of a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to a con­flict that has re­mained un­abated. Speak­ing on de­vel­op­ments in Iraq, the Amir ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion over the progress made in the fight against the so-called Is­lamic State (IS), as he wished the coun­try a pros­per­ous and bright fu­ture. On the Pales­tinian con­flict, HH Sheikh Sabah re­gret­ted that ef­forts to es­tab­lish peace re­main at an im­passe, not­ing that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is pre­oc­cu­pied with other is­sues.

Mean­while, speak­ing on ties with Iran, HH the Amir said there needs to be con­struc­tive di­a­logue between the GCC and the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic, not­ing that the talks should cen­ter on abid­ance by in­ter­na­tional law, in­clud­ing sov­er­eign rights. The Amir also urged Tehran to cease med­dling in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of other na­tions, not­ing that the agenda of this GCC sum­mit in­cludes nu­mer­ous piv­otal is­sues.

Mean­while, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May was to meet Gulf lead­ers for talks on trade ties af­ter Bri­tain leaves the Euro­pean Union. King Sal­man of Gulf heavy­weight Saudi Ara­bia opened the sum­mit with a call for “dou­bling of ef­forts” to face re­gional chal­lenges. May was ex­pected to meet the lead­ers later yes­ter­day be­fore ad­dress­ing the sum­mit today, when she will be­come the first Bri­tish pre­mier and the first woman to at­tend the an­nual gath­er­ing of the six oil-rich GCC states.

De­fense ties are also ex­pected to be high on the agenda as Bri­tain builds a new naval base in Bahrain. May’s two-day visit comes as her gov­ern­ment faces mount­ing do­mes­tic crit­i­cism that it has not done enough to avoid post-Brexit dis­rup­tion to Bri­tish trade, which is cur­rently car­ried out un­der EU agree­ments.

“I will have the op­por­tu­nity to talk to all six lead­ers about how we can de­velop our trade re­la­tion­ship, as well as co­op­er­a­tion on se­cu­rity and de­fense,” May said be­fore ar­riv­ing in Manama late on Mon­day. Her of­fice said May will dis­cuss pos­si­bil­i­ties for post-Brexit free trade ar­range­ments with the GCC states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates. “As the UK leaves the EU, we should seize the op­por­tu­nity to forge a new trade ar­range­ment between the UK and the Gulf,” the Bri­tish pre­mier said.

Ahead of the sum­mit, May yes­ter­day met King Sal­man, Bahrain’s King Ha­mad, HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah and UAE Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al-Mak­toum. In Oc­to­ber last year, Bri­tain be­gan build­ing a naval base at Mina Sal­man, out­side Manama, its first new per­ma­nent base in the Mid­dle East in four decades. May told 300 Royal Navy of­fi­cers aboard HMS Ocean that she wanted to “step up our de­fense and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion to keep Bri­tish cit­i­zens safe at home and abroad”. Bri­tain’s force al­ready sta­tioned in Bahrain was “a clear demon­stra­tion of the UK’s en­dur­ing se­cu­rity com­mit­ment to the Gulf”, she said. — Agen­cies

—AFP/KUNA

MANAMA: Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) lead­ers pose for a group picture dur­ing a GCC sum­mit in the Bahraini cap­i­tal yes­ter­day. (Right) HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May yes­ter­day.

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