GCC summit concluded in Abu Dhabi

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The leaders and heads of delegations of The Cooperation Council for The Arab States of The Gulf (GCC) concluded their 31st GCC Summit of the Supreme Council.

On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Naif Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior headed the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the GCC Summit.

At the outset of the final session, the Secretary General of The Cooperation Council for The Arab States of The Gulf (GCC) Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Atiyyah read a cable addressed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud to the GCC leaders.

Following is the text:

'Your Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of The Cooperation Council for The Arab States of The Gulf (GCC), May Allah's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.

As you are meeting today for the interests of the states and peoples of the Gulf region, I sense that I have missed this distinguished meeting and that the greatest trust we have been shouldering towards our peoples, is still embodied in me, as this trust emanates from our religion, Arabism and the interests of our Arab and Islamic nations.

Dear Brothers,

As we all look forward to achieving the objectives and goals of our peoples, and despite my absence from the meeting in view of my indisposition, my presence is there at the meeting with my spirit, participating with you in the aspirations and objectives of our historical responsibilities, wishing you a grand success in your endeavors. May Allah provide you with full support. I express my sincere appreciation and thanks to you for your noble feelings which have relieved me a lot from my indisposition.'

GCC leaders gave the okay for corporations of their member countries to open branches in any of the other GCC countries which will receive reciprocal fair treatment according to Abu-Dhabi communiquéأ© which was issued by the 31st summit of the Supreme Council of GCC in Abu-Dhabi.

The council also adopted a long-term comprehensive development strategy for the GCC member countries for the period 2010-2025 and the completion of the third phase of the GCC railway network and electric grid.

It approved the regional plan of action to prepare for and respond to radiation risks as a regional plan for the prevention of radiation in the GCC countries, praising the efforts Saudi Arabia exerted in drafting this strategy.

The Council endorsed the decisions taken by the GCC joint Defense Council and reviewed the joint action in the political, economic, social, military , security , cultural and information fields.

Following is the text of The Closing Statement of the 31 Session of the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

'In response to the gracious invitation extended by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the United Arab Emirates, the Supreme Council convened its 31st session in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 6-7 December 2010 (30 Dhul Hijjah and 1 Muharram, 1431 H) under the chairmanship of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The meeting was presided over by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the United Arab Emirates and the Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council, in the presence of Their Majesties and Highnesses: His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain; HRH Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister & Interior Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Al-Sayed Fahad Bin Mahmoud Al-Saeed, Deputy Prime Minister for the Affairs of the Council of Ministers of the Sultanate of Oman; His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar; His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait. H.E. Abdulrahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the GCC Secretary-General also participated in the meeting.

The Council congratulated His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates- may Allah protect him-on assuming the chairmanship of the current session of the Supreme Council. It valued the speech of His Highness for articulating sublime contents, purposeful vision, keen desire to activate the cooperation process among the GCC States in all fields, and to further expand this process into yet larger domains in the coming period.

The Council also congratulated Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates-may Allah protect him-on the occasion of the 39th National Day of the United Arab Emirates. The Council expressed its best wishes of more progress and prosperity for the United Arab Emirates and its people.

The Council also expressed its appreciation of the tremendous, sincere, and genuine efforts exerted by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait-may Allah protect him-and Chairman of previous session of the Supreme Council, and by his prudent Government during His Highness' Chairmanship of the 30th session of the GCC Supreme Council, towards the keen follow-up on the implementation of the Supreme Council resolutions, the crucial steps taken and achievements made to push forward the cooperation process to a more advanced stage, lifting it to broader horizons, and bringing further prosperity for the people of the GCC States.

Their Majesties and Highnesses also expressed happiness at the clarification provided by HRH Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the health condition of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia-may Allah protect him- and his recuperation from illness, entreating the almighty Allah to grant His Majesty lasting health and complete recovery to continue leading the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and supporting the blessed cooperation march of the GCC.

The Supreme Council also hailed the participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia-may Allah protect him- in the G-20 Summit, which was held in Toronto, Canada on November 26, 2010, and Seoul, South Korea on November 11, 2010. The Supreme Council expressed appreciation of the important role the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays in global political and economic relations.

The Supreme Council also congratulated His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain on the occasion of the 39th National Day, and on the occasion of the recent Parliamentary and Municipal Elections, citing those as a shining sign in the march of development and advancement under his leadership.

The Supreme Council welcomed the kind patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for the GCC's first Olympic Games which will set to start in Manama on 16 April 2011.

The Supreme Council also congratulated His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed -may Allah protect him-on the Sultanate's glorious 40th national day, lauding the remarkable achievements Oman has made and which qualified it to earn the first place among 135 countries worldwide in the rapid human development index. The Council wished Sultanate of Oman and its dear people constant progress, prosperity and wellbeing.

Likewise, the Supreme Council applauded His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, on Doha's winning the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The Supreme Council expressed its extreme delight for Qatar's hosting of the momentous world historic sporting event and affirmed the GCC's unlimited support for Qatar to enable it render the mondial 2022 a success as a source of pride to the counties and peoples of the GCC and Arab and Muslim countries as well as to peace lovers in the world, and as a promoter of dialogue among civilizations and cultures. The Council appreciated the distinguished efforts made by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar's Crown Prince, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar 2022 Bid Committee.

The Supreme Council commended the contents of the address delivered by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar-may Allah protect-at the opening session of the 39th term of the Shura Council and valued his efforts and what Qatar has achieved under his leadership within the national vision of Qatar.

The Supreme Council highly noted Qatar's initiative for promoting national dialogue, reconciliation and unity among brethren in Yemen and assisting them to resort to dialogue as the best method conducive to maintaining security and stability in brotherly Yemen. It reiterated its support for the unity, security and stability of the Republic of Yemen.

The Supreme Council welcomed the mediation His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, has assumed to find a solution to the territorial dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti which demonstrated the successes His Highness has made in this regards. The Council lauded Sheikh Hamad's sincere and persistent effort to provide all means of success to the good initiatives which are based on values and principles of dialogue as a method for settling problems and disputes.

The Supreme Council expressed its support for Qatar's desire to host the 18th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2012.

With the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the GCC around the corner, the Supreme Council took stock of the joint action in the political, economic, social, military, security, cultural and informational spheres and expressed its satisfaction over the achievements of its blessed march since the previous summit.

The Supreme Council valued the accomplishments and gains made within the domain of the joint GCC action, vowing its commitment to maintaining this blessed march for the best interest of the GCC member states and welfare of their citizens.

The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction over and appreciation of the implementation of recommendations the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia made on accelerating performance and removal of obstacles hindering the course of joint action, and the Kuwaiti paper on current regional and international challenges.

In light of what the region and the world are witnessing of developments and events, the Supreme Council evaluated the political issues, both the regional and international, and took the appropriate decisions.

GCC Joint Action:

Vision of Bahrain for Development of the GCC:

The Supreme Council reviewed recommendations by ministerial committees and the ministerial council on the Vision of Bahrain and emphasized the importance of its ideas and proposals for reinforcing joint action and directed the ministerial committees and the Secretariat General to implement what had been agreed upon.

Vision of Qatar for Activation of the GCC role:

The Supreme Council reviewed the follow up reports from the ministerial committees and reports from the ministerial council regarding the Vision of Qatar and directed the ministerial committees and the Secretariat General to implement what had been agreed upon.

In the Field of Economy:

The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction at the performance of the economies of GCC member states as well as their economic and social development and the high economic growth rates.

The Supreme Council examined the progress on economic integration within GCC as explained in the reports and recommendations from specialized Ministerial Committees, Ministerial Council and the Secretariat General pertaining to the proposals contained in the Vision of the Kingdom of Bahrain on developing the GCC and the vision of the State of Qatar about activating the role of the GCC, and the promotion of mutual investments, in education and health in particular.

The Supreme Council has issued relevant directives.

On GCC Customs Union:

The Supreme Council examined the report on the meetings of the Ministerial Council, Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee and the other relevant committees and gave directives to each of the Ministerial Committees to speed up work on the development of mechanisms of the Customs Union, removal of customs and non-customs barriers among the member states to facilitate smooth flow of intra-GCC trade as well as trade with foreign countries.

On GCC Common Market:

The Supreme Council examined the report submitted by H.E the Secretary General of the Council and expressed satisfaction on the opportunities and privileges made available to nationals of the GCC member states. To further promote these opportunities and privileges, the Supreme Council decided to allow GCC companies to open branches in other GCC member states and to receive the same equal treatment of national firms as part of the efforts to further achieve integration among GCC states and to strengthen ties among GCC citizens.

On Monetary Union:

The Supreme Council examined a report on the development of the Monetary Union including a briefing on its establishment and the assignments implemented by its board of directors.

On Comprehensive Development:

To keep pace with the relevant domestic, regional and international developments, the Supreme Council has approved:

- GCC long-term comprehensive development strategy 2010-2025.

- General framework for a GCC unified statistical strategy.

On GCC Electricity Grid Connection:

The Supreme Council examined a report on the GCC electricity grid connection, of which phase1 was inaugurated last year, and reviewed what has been accomplished so far of phase3.

On GCC railway project:

The Supreme Council noted the report of the GCC Secretariat-General on the GCC railway project, relevant studies, detailed engineering designs, and issued directives to speed up the implementation of the same.

- Laws and regulations on social and industrial affairs:

The Supreme Council endorsed the approval by Economic and Financial Cooperation Committee of amendments to the anti-dumping code and anti-dumping and countervailing measures and safeguards to comply with the relevant WTO's requirements and international standards.

- On Human and Environmental Affairs:

The Supreme Council discussed a number of topics pertaining to joint action on human and environmental issues. These include:

- In the field of education: The Supreme Council noted a follow-up report by the GCC Secretariat-General on education, and expressed satisfaction at the steps taken to implement the decisions therein, and at the development endeavors being made by the Member States.

On environment:

The Supreme Council approved the regional plan of action to prepare for and respond to radiation risks as a regional plan for the prevention of radiation in the GCC as approved at the 14th Meeting of Ministers of Environment which was held in Kuwait on October 12, 2010.

On the uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes:

The Supreme Council reviewed the report of the GCC Secretariat on the progress of work on detailed studies of the uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and completion of projects of technical cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the three regional programs in 2010, including what has been agreed upon with the IAEA on cooperation programs for the next phase 2012-2013.

In the field of joint municipal work.

In support of this vital aspect, and as part of unifying legislations, regulations, frameworks, as well as relevant specifications and standards , the Council agreed upon:

-The general framework of the Unified Urban strategy of the GCC countries. The Council extended its gratitude and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its efforts in its preparation.

-The guidebook of the standards and specifications for setting up billboards in GCC states. The Council expressed its thanks and appreciation to Qatar for preparing it.

On Dialogue between civilizations, cultures and followers of religions:

The Supreme Council renewed its emphasis on the importance of strengthening dialogue between the different civilizations, cultures and followers of different religions, as well as its keenness to extend bridges of convergence between nations and civilizations; as embodied in the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and as confirmed in the numerous conferences held under this initiative.

The Council affirmed that dialogue between civilizations and followers of religions is the most effective way to enhance global understanding and cooperation which will lead to the prevalence of security, eliminating of the conflict causes, and enhancement of efforts to address the problems afflicting the world.

The Council welcomed the State of Qatar's hosting of the Fourth Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in December next year, a move that will be a turning point in the march of the Alliance of Civilizations owing to the wide participation of all active players.

Military cooperation and joint defense:

The Supreme Council reviewed what was submitted by the Joint Defense Council at its ninth session in Kuwait on November 9, 2010 regarding the areas of military cooperation and joint defense. It also reviewed the steps and efforts taken to strengthen and develop the Peninsula Shield Joint Force, as well the progress in the development of the joint military projects on secure communications and the Cooperation Belt.

The GCC leaders also reviewed the results of preliminary studies pertaining to the defense and security as contained in the Vision of Bahrain for the development of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

They voiced satisfaction over the Peninsula Shield Joint Force accomplished at the levels of readiness, training and efficiency, and registered their appreciation to their Highnesses and Excellencies the members of the Joint Defense Council and the Supreme Military Council for their attention and follow-up of the areas of military cooperation and joint defense. They stressed permanent support to the Peninsula Shield Joint Force.

The Supreme Council also endorsed the resolutions of the Joint Defense Council at its ninth session and approved the system for the provision of insurance protection for military personnel and workers in armed forces in the GCC States.

On Security coordination and cooperation:

The Supreme Council reviewed the process of security coordination and cooperation among the member States in the light of the findings of the twenty-ninth meeting of the GCC interior ministers held in Kuwait on November 2, 2010 and ratified its decisions.

The Council expressed its satisfaction over the achievements and measures taken for the enhancement of the security of the Member States and the protection of the national gains in this regard, and stressed the importance of intensifying cooperation, especially in the area of the exchange of information among the security agencies in the Member States.

On Counter-Terrorism:

The Council stressed the firm stances of the GCC member States on the elimination of violence and extremism associated with terrorism, and noted its efforts in adopting the executive measures to activate the relevant decisions in this area, emphasizing its support for all regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism; at the same time it emphasizes anew the need to activate the resolutions and statements issued by organizations and regional and international conferences on combating terrorism, and also urges the international community represented by the United Nations to activate the call of the GCC countries to establish an international centre for combating terrorism, exchange of information and expertise, and coordination among countries to monitor and control the movement of organizations and terrorist elements, and to thwart their plans.

The Council praised the capability, competence and readiness of the Bahraini security agencies in uncovering and dismantling a network harboring a terrorist plan that targeted security and stability of the kingdom. It reiterated the member states' solidarity with and stand by Bahrain, as well as their absolute support, on the principles of collective security and unity of destiny, to all actions taken in confronting such terrorist acts and all types of sedition and sabotage, aimed at destabilizing the country, as well as targeting and terrifying innocent citizens and residents.

The Council also commended the efforts and efficiency of the Saudi security forces and the pre-emptive operations that led to the dismantling of 19 terrorist cells that intended to spread chaos through a series of suicide attacks. It called on the international community to deal firmly with the terrorist and terror sponsoring groups which target the stability and security of nations.

The Council stressed the importance of drying up financing sources for terrorist groups and foiling their criminal plots, hatched abroad and their masterminds' attempts to find a foothold inside to spread their thought and plans against national security and capabilities. It emphasized the role of media outlets in refraining from publishing or transmitting any materials that encourage or support such criminal acts or their perpetrators.

Maritime piracy

The Council expressed appreciation to the efforts made by the GCC naval forces in combating maritime piracy and protection of shipping corridors. It wished the Bahraini naval forces success in taking the command of the International Counter-Piracy Task Force (C.T.F. 152).

Legal affairs

The Council reviewed recommendations meant to enhance joint action in the domain of justice submitted by the justice ministers. The Council approved the following:

1. Extending effect of the following amended bills as pilot laws for another four years, to be renewed automatically unless called for review:

- Abu Dhabi bill for unified act (law) on conciliation and arbitration

- Abu Dhabi bill for unified act (law) on combating trafficking in persons

- Riyadh bill for unified act (law) on penal procedures

2. Extending effect of the following bills as pilot laws for another four years, to be renewed automatically, unless called for review:

- Muscat bill for unified GCC personal laws

- Kuwait bill for unified GCC law on custody of minors' funds

- Doha bill for unified GCC penal law

- Kuwait bill for unified GCC civil law

- Abu Dhabi bill for unified GCC law on juveniles

- Manama bill for unified GCC law on the legal profession

- Muscat bill for unified GCC law on proof

- Manama bill for unified GCC law on civil procedures for litigation

- Doha bill for unified GCC law on notary public.

At the closing session of the 31st summit of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Interior and Head of the Kingdom's delegation to the meeting, delivered the following speech:

'Your Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,

Your Majesties and Your Highnesses,

I am pleased to extend my thanks to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the good reception and hospitality which are deeply rooted in themselves, their family and their people. I am confident that Their Majesties and Their Highnesses do share me these feelings, and I do not want to add to the cable the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent to you in which he wished you all success. I congratulate Your Highness and GCC leaders on the success you achieved during this Summit.

Such success demonstrates your good leadership and steering of our two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

In light of the continuous directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, I again thank Your Highness, your government and your people. We are delighted by the approval and directive of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques as well as the desire of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to hold the next GCC Summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I pray to Allah Almighty to grant you continuous success, unite your actions towards the good of your countries and peoples, and achieve the aspirations of GCC leaders in terms of security, stability and welfare. Thank to Allah Almighty and the good leadership, GCC citizens are living in a state of security, economic and social stability despite the critical and difficult circumstances surrounding our countries. This would not be achieved without a wise leadership that draws and supports this policy.

I thank Your Highness and the officials in the United Arab Emirates, and I also thank the leaders participating in this meeting for their successful efforts. May Allah's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.'

Then, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates announced the conclusion of the 31st GCC Summit hosted by Abu Dhabi on 6-7/12/2010, praying to Allah Almighty to bestow good health on the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud following the surgery he has recently undergone.

The members of the official delegation accompanying the Second Deputy Premier included Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Justice Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Essa; Minister of State and member of the Cabinet Dr. Matlab bin Abdullah Al-Nafisah; Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf; Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah bin Ahmed Zainal; Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet for Shoura Council Affairs Dr. Saud Al-Mathami; General Supervisor of the Office of Second Deputy Premier Gen. Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Rubaian; and Saudi Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Ibrahim bin Saad Al-Brahim.