GCC keen on strategic partnership with UK: Amir GCC - UK meeting tackles need to quell regional unrest
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said yesterday that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region was keen on bolstering strategic ties and relations with the UK. This statement came during the final session of the 37th GCC Summit held in the Bahraini capital Manama. The event was attended by British Prime Minister Theresa May and GCC leaders.
Delivering a speech to the event, His Highness the Amir thanked the Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the people of Bahrain for hosting the 37th GCC Summit, saying that this was reflective of the Kingdom’s efforts in boosting relations among nations within the regional and international arenas.
The summit was within the efforts to enhance strategic, economic, political, and security cooperation between the UK and the GCC, affirmed His Highness the Amir, adding that history proved that relations between the two sides were built on trust and a strong desire to bring security and stability to the region and the world. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah mentioned that the two sides were coordinating efforts on all levels.
On UK-Kuwaiti relations, His Highness Sheikh Sabah said that his country was proud to have historical ties with Great Britain, affirming that both nations were eager to bolster ties on all levels. The Kuwaiti leader fondly remembered the strong UK stance with his country during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, saying that Britain played a pivotal role in liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi aggressors in 1991. His Highness the Amir concluded his speech by welcoming the British Prime Minister Theresa May to the region, re-affirming that the GCC will seek all venues to boost ties with the UK.
A meeting between GCC leaders and the British Prime Minister May has underscored the urgent need to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. A statement issued after the meeting, which occurred on the sidelines of the GCC Summit that concluded yesterday, called for increased support of the United Nations’ (UN) Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, as he works to establish a roadmap for peace in the war-torn nation.
Moreover, the statement urged Yemen’s warring parties to remain committed to the peace process, adding that maximal efforts should be expended to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers in the country.
The statement also ramped up pressure on the international community to exert more efforts to put an end to a conflict that has remained unabated, underscoring the need to abide by the UN resolution 2216, which demands an end to the violence in Yemen.
Addressing the conflict in Syria, the statement underscored the need to ensure a sustained political solution to the conflict, while forming a government that will represent the Syrian people. It also added that the solution should guarantee an immediate end to violence in the country.
On deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Syria, the statement expressed “concern”, while condemning any attempts to stall the advent of humanitarian aid into besieged areas. Similarly, on the situation in Iraq, the statement underscored the need of increased support of the Iraqi government in the fight to defeat the So-called Islamic State (IS), which can only be possible with concerted international efforts.
On Libya, the statement urged all sides in the conflict to endorse a plan where authority in the North African nation will be evenly shared, in line with UN resolutions and decisions. Meanwhile, on Lebanon, the statement pressed national institutions to fight all forms of terrorism that threaten the country’s peace and security.
GCC leaders and the British premier pledged to maintain the mutual obligation to “face dangerous threats caused” by the notorious groups Al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic States as well as their offshoot factions.
The two sides decided to form a joint task team charged with combating terrorism and safeguarding states’ border security. They also vowed to work together for tracking down, arresting and prosecuting terrorists, in line with national and international laws. They have decided to boost the action against terrorism funding, enhance intelligence cooperation and swap information on terrorists’ whereabouts.
Moreover, the UK and the GCC agreed to bolster joint efforts for cooperation in the defense, cyber and marine security, in addition to organizing mutual training courses and drills. They have also agreed on cooperation for aborting cyber, attacks, hacking and misuse, enhancing military coordination, strengthening defenses of the regional countries, including the marine borders. GCC leaders and the British premier also decided to enhance mutual cooperation at the commercial and business levels, according to the official statement released after the meeting. The statement said volume of trade exchanges between the UK and the GCC countries exceeded 30 billion sterling pounds last year. It confirmed that the UK, once it has accomplished the ‘Brexit’, it would act as a priority to cement the commercial and economic relations with the GCC states.
The two sides agreed on holding the BritishGulf conference on partnership between the private and public sectors in the first quarter of 2017, in London, “which will focus on the schemes for economic diversification in the GCC countries.”
MANAMA: British Prime Minister Theresa May (center) poses with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders for a group picture yesterday, during a GCC summit in the Bahraini capital Manama. — AFP