RIYADH, 22nd December, 2015 (WAM) — The Gulf Cooperation Council member states said they are following with great concern the abduction of a number of Qatari citizens in southern Iraq, considering it a shameful act and a flagrant violation of international law and human rights, and contrary to the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam. They added that the abduction is “an unacceptable act that hurts the bonds of fraternal relations between the Arab brothers”.

A statement released by the GCC General Secretariat today, said, while condemning the abduction of innocent citizens who entered the Iraqi territory legitimately and legally, the GCC countries express full solidarity with the Government of the State of Qatar in all the actions taken in this regard, and hoped that the contacts taking place between Qatar and Iraq will result in the release of hostages and their safe return to their home country.

The statement pointed out that the GCC countries, which continue to cooperate with the Iraqi Government in its quest to achieve security and stability in Iraq, are demanding that the Iraqi Government shoulder its international legal responsibilities, take decisive and immediate measures to guarantee the safety of the abductees and release them as soon as possible, especially since Qatari citizens had entered Iraqi territory with official permission from the Embassy of Iraq in Doha and approved by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, and since the kidnapping incident took place in the territory under the control and sovereignty of the Iraqi Government.