MANAMA, 6th December, 2016 (WAM)–Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States (GCC), have stressed the importance of countering all forms of threats and terrorism to safeguard the safety and security of the GCC states as well as protect their achievements.

They also underlined – at the start of the 37th Summit, which is being held in Manama, and chaired by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, tackling of crises in the region with shared spirit of responsibility, determination, and stepping up efforts to consolidate the foundations of security, stability, development and prosperity.

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is attending the summit.

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa chaired the inaugural the 37th GCC Summit, which opened on Tuesday evening at Al-Sakhir Palace, in the presence of the Gulf leaders and the GCC Secretary-General.

King Hamad declared the session open and welcomed the GCC leaders, stressing deep-rooted fraternal relations binding member states and peoples. He paid tribute to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, lauding the dedicated efforts he exerted during his rotation presidency of the previous session.

He hailed the Saudi leader’s farsighted vision which contributed to a large extent to elaborating the work orientations of the coming period, commending the GCC leaders’ strenuous efforts to strengthen the pillars of the historic six-member milestone, shared interests and promising future.

“Our meeting convenes in the backdrop of unprecedented political and economic circumstances which affect all countries in the world”, he said, urging highest level of cooperation so that the GCC can pursue its successful march and influential role on the international arena.”

He hailed the landmark strides of the council, which is not just a tool to consolidate achievements, as it gained leverage and morphed into a regional milestone that takes the initiative to maintain security and peace in the region and the world.

King Hamad highlighted the GCC pivotal and active role in seeking political solutions and initiatives to the crises facing countries in the region and staving off foreign interference in their internal affairs. He commended the GCC member states’ dedicated efforts to achieve economic development, hailing landmark strides, which contribute to citizens’ prosperity and well-being and strengthen joint march.

He saluted the establishment of the economic development commission which, he said, serves as a viable mechanism to bolster member states and turn them into a global economic actor, on the basis of productivity, competiveness and steady growth towards enhancing the level of sustainable development.

King Hamad hailed projects, initiatives and economic agreements sealed between member countries, citing the GCC Common Market, the power and water grid as well as the planned customs union, modern telecommunications and transportation network towards comprehensive integration which features on the summit priorities.

While describing security and development as being interrelated, he urged the GCC countries to upgrade and activate defence and security pacts so as to confront threats and the scourge of terrorism, protect Gulf nations and peoples and preserve achievements.

He praised the Arab Security 1, which was held in Bahrain last month, and described the drill “as an essential quantum leap towards strengthening security cooperation,” commending the efficient organisation and the alertness to security dangers surrounding the GCC countries.

King Hamad saluted the success of the GCC member states in confronting the chaos resulting from extremism and terrorism and preserving their development, progress and prosperity, which inspired many other countries that aspire to stability and peace.

He commended GCC Secretary-General Dr. Adbullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, assistants and General-Secretariat staff to consolidate the standing of the council, follow-up the implementation of resolutions and upgrade its performance.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud expressed his appreciation to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the government and people of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the warm hospitality and good reception.

He also expressed satisfaction for what has been achieved by the competent agencies of the GCC council over the past year in accordance with mechanisms adopted by the council, which aim to raise the level of cooperation and coordination, including the decision of establishing the Economic and Development Affairs Commission which began its work recently to promote joint action in the economic and development fields.

“The current highly complicated circumstances in our region are obvious to everyone as well as the crises. These requires all of us to work together to confront and deal with them in a spirit of responsibility, determination and intensify efforts in order to consolidate the foundations of security and stability of our region as well as development and prosperity for our countries and peoples, King Salman said.

He referred to the sad situation being suffered by some Arab countries, characterised by terrorism, domestic struggle and bloodshed. These were triggered the alliance of terrorism, sectarianism and flagrant interference, leading to destabilisation and breach of security, he said.

As for the situation in Yemen, King Salman continued, “efforts are being exerted to end the conflict in a manner that restores the security and stability under the leadership of Yemen’s legitimate government and according to the GCC initiative, resolutions of the national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolution No. 2216, thanks to the endeavors of the UN special envoy to Yemen.”

Regarding Syria, he said, “We are all saddened to see what is happening there, including killings, displacement and suffering of the Syrian people. International community should intensify efforts to stop bloodshed and find a political solution to restore the security and stability as well as preserving the unity and territorial integrity of Syria.”

Despite the important achievements implemented by the GCC, King Salman said, “We look forward to better future that guarantees the aspirations of the GCC citizens towards more prosperity and dignified living, and enhances the GCC status at the regional and international arenas through active foreign policies to achieve security and stability in the region.”

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait the GCC summit comes amid rapid international changes and critical conditions that necessitate continuing consultations and joint coordination to consider and preclude relevant reflections on the GCC countries.

Addressing the 37th GCC summit held in Manama, he said that the region is currently facing grave challenges, citing dwindling oil prices as a major concern. He spoke of notable achievements brought about by joint GCC work, which includes economic gains that represent the aspirations of GCC citizens.

The Amir highlighted the need for increased strategies to bolster GCC cooperation in efforts to amass further accomplishments that will reinforce solidarity among the Gulf nations.

On the scourge of terrorism, he said, “It poses a threat to regional security and stability,’ calling for concerted efforts to eliminate this mounting threat.

On Yemen, the Amir of Kuwait said that Kuwait had hosted peace talks that aimed to restore peace in the war-torn nation, lamenting that the efforts were in vain.

On Syria, he said that the GCC backs the people of Syria, underscoring firm support for a political solution to a conflict that has continued unabated.

Speaking on developments in Iraq, the Amir of Kuwait expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the fight against the so-called Daesh, wishing Iraq a prosperous and bright future.

Regarding the Palestinian conflict, he regretted that efforts to achieve peace remain at an impasse, noting that the international community is preoccupied with other issues.

Speaking on ties with Iran, the Amir of Kuwait said there needs to be constructive dialogue between the GCC and the Islamic Republic of Iran, noting that the talks should focus on international law principles, including sovereign rights and non-interference in internal affairs of other states.

Addressing the meeting, GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for his chairmanship of the previous session of the council, lauding his great efforts and wisdom.

The GCC Secretary General highlighted the importance of deepening integration in all fields of joint action, pointing out that the ministerial council has submitted to the summit all recommendations aiming to enhance the GCC joint march in all fields.

He commended the presidency of King Salman of the 36th GCC Summit. GCC Secretary General also greeted the UAE, Sultanate of Oman and State of Qatar on their national day anniversaries.

Then King Hamad chaired the closed session during which the GCC leaders discussed issues on the agenda.

WAM/Majok