GCC summits in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh: The Saudi capital is set to host the 39th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit today. Saudi Arabia has hosted seven GCC summits since the inception of the six-member alliance in May 1981. Four kings have chaired the GCC summits held in Saudi Arabia so far. King Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz chaired the first one, King Fahd chaired the next three, King Abdullah chaired two meetings and King Salman chaired the last one.
The first summit in Riyadh was in November 1981. The GCC reviewed the political, economic and security situation in the Gulf and announced its intention to continue coordination to address the threats surrounding the region. The Council reiterated its belief that the only way to achieve a just peace in the Middle East was the withdrawal of Israel from all the Occupied Territories.
The summit coincided with the inauguration of the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.
It discussed the developments of the Iraq-Iran war, the situation in the Gulf and in the Arab world, the Palestinian cause and the problem of Lebanon. The Council addressed the Arab issues and praised the outcome of the extraordinary Arab summit held in Jordan.
It considered the oil situation and recent developments in world markets and stressed the need to maintain market stability.
The Council affirmed its full determination to accelerate the progress of the GCC towards wider horizons to face all challenges and keep pace with regional and global changes. The leaders discussed develop- ments in the Gulf region, in light of the Iraqi regime’s violation of the terms of the ceasefire and the continuation of its claims in Kuwait.
The Council called on Iran to respond to the call of the UAE for a direct dialogue and commitment to all peaceful means to end the occupation of the three UAE islands.
The Council reviewed the security and living conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
GCC leaders agreed on tariff categories (exempted goods, basic commodities) by 5.5 per cent and other commodities by 7.5 per cent. The Council announced the GCC Customs Union will be implemented in March 2005.
The summit was named “Jaber Summit”, following the death of the Emir of Kuwait, Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah. The leaders commissioned a study to set up a nuclear energy common programme for peaceful purposes.
King Abdullah called on GCC to move from the stage of cooperation to the stage of union within a single entity.
GCC states welcomed the call to set up a commission made up of three members from each state to study all aspects.
King Salman called for joining forces and working together to continue to protect GCC states from external threats and to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Council reiterated keenness on security and stability in Yemen under its legitimate leadership and stressed political solution to solve crisis.