MANAMA, 8th December, 2016 (WAM) — Bahraini Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, has reiterated the GCC support of the legitimate government in Yemen, saying, “The allied countries in support of Yemen answered the call of the legitimate government without siding with any party to the detriment of another”, he said.

The Bahrain News Agency, BNA, quoted the minister, who was addressing a press conference marking the conclusion of the 37th GCC Summit, as saying that the alliance opposes any external interference and any harm to Yemen and neighbouring countries and their vital interests. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, GCC Secretary-General, was also present at the press conference.

The minister urged an end to the Iranian shipments of arms and to the blatant interference which claims the lives of Yemenis as citizens from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We have intervened in Yemen only to restore stability in this country with all its segments,” he said.

Dr. Al-Zayani hailed the GCC-led efforts, since 2011, to seek a peaceful process in Yemen, avert the bloodshed and avoid slipping into an internecine civil war. He highlighted the GCC peace initiative and unwavering support to the legitimate government to regain control of all the Yemeni territories, stressing the desire of the council to work with the Yemenis towards improving the humanitarian situation.

“The GCC have been working in tandem with the United Nations since 2011 and implemented the 8th article of the UN Charter”, he said, reiterated support to the efforts led by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, towards reaching a peaceful settlement, taking into account the GCC peace initiative, the National Dialogue outcome and UN Resolution 22/2016.

The minister denied any intention of discrediting Iran, calling for Iranian blatant stances to stop. Addressing the press conference, he said that Iran is the party which targets the sovereignty of the GCC member states and other countries in the region and undermines the principle of good neighbourliness.

He urged the Tehran regime to take important steps and reconsider its foreign policy, adding that the GCC countries did nothing which may harm Iran. “Iran succeeded in convincing the world regarding its nuclear programme. It should spare no effort to convince us that it represents an important and open neighbour which aspires to build constructive relations with us”, he said.

The minister condemned Iranian policies towards the GCC countries and declared intention of exporting the revolution to neighbouring countries. “In case they have a revolution, it should be confined to their country, as it does not concern the GCC countries”, he said, urging Iran to stop supporting terrorism and respect the sovereignty of countries.

“If these things happen, we will then respond positively to Iran”, he said, reiterating the firm resolve to continue defending security and sovereignty in case Iran continues interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, causing the loss of lives and seeking to impose its hegemony, as witness in some Arab countries.

Regarding the presence of the UK Premier as Guest of Honour at the 37th GCC meeting in the backdrop of the election of a new US Administration, he reiterated the GCC leaders’ keenness on strengthening external partnership with international allies, brotherly and friendly countries and regional organisations.

He underlined in this respect the strong relations binding the GCC countries with major allies, citing the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and many other countries in the world. He reaffirmed the commitment of all GCC member countries to relations with allies.

The minister underscored the crucial importance of the GCC alliance with the United States and said that such strong partnership is not restricted to one US presidency as it dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Sheikh Khalid said that the GCC countries look forward to working with the US Administration of President-elect Donald Trump, describing GCC-US relations as based on regional security and stability. Regarding Iraq, he said that that the al-Hashd al-Shaabi militia would only deepen the chasm and sectarian divide in this Arab country, wishing Iraq stability.