Reiterating the Gulf’s Consistent Position

  • 4 June 2014

The statement issued following the 131st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial Council, which was held in Riyadh on Monday, is significant not only because it reiterated the Gulf’s consistent position on many of the security and political issues, that are closely related to stability in GCC countries, but also because it showed the awareness of the Council regarding various developments taking place across the region, and the need to find effective and lasting solutions for them.

The first of these positions was rejection of occupation of the three UAE islands – Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa – by Iran. The statement confirmed support for the UAE’s sovereignty over these islands, their territorial waters, airspace, and economic zone as integral parts of the UAE. The statement considered any decision or action taken by Iran on the three islands as null and void and that this will not change the UAE’s historical and legal sovereignty over them. The statement demonstrates that the GCC countries speak with one voice on this issue and back the UAE’s peaceful efforts in this domain.

The statement also emphasized the principles and importance of cooperation among the GCC countries and Iran on the basis of respect for sovereignty in the region, non-interference in internal affairs, principles of good neighborliness and refraining from the use of force. These principles are fixed, deeply rooted and adopted by the GCC countries in its international relations. Given the GCC countries are keen to maintain good-neighborly relations, they expect neighboring countries to adopt a similar policy and stop meddling in Gulf affairs. This is in common interest for all countries in the region.

The third of these fundamentals is the renunciation of terrorism and extremism in all its forms, irrespective of the motive and justification. This expresses a common Gulf position that terrorism and extremism are imminent threat to security and stability in the entire region. These countries have made all efforts possible to confront this menace through enhanced regional and international cooperation. Another element is that of engagement on different Arab issues. With regard to the crisis in Syria the statement stressed the need for solution as per Geneva Accord 1, which comprises forming a transitional body with wide powers to enable them to maintain the country’s sovereignty, independence and integrity of its national territory.

In relation to the Palestinian cause, it called for the need for establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. It also called for support to Yemen, Egypt, and Libya so that security, stability and development in these countries can be achieved. These consistent positions confirm that the GCC countries adopt a clear and comprehensive vision of dealing with various Gulf, Arab and regional issues. They believe in the shared destiny of Gulf countries and the need for unity to tackle common challenges.

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