Saudi Arabia hosts 32nd session of GCC higher council (3)

Comprehensive report shows GCC achievements

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Supreme Council was briefed on the results of the GCC Defense Committee's 10th session, held in Abu Dhabi in November 2011, on the various areas of military cooperation and joint defense. The summit endorsed the committee's decisions.

The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction over the achievements in the field of defense integration among the GCC countries, stressing the continuation of the practical steps of the procedures and studies to build a common defense system, realizing the collective security of the GCC countries.

In its final communiquéأ©, it also stressed the importance of intensifying cooperation, especially regarding the exchange of information among security agencies in the GCC Member States.

The GCC reviewed practical steps taken in the military cooperation domain, ratifying a defense strategy that encompass upgrading of capabilities of the joint Al Jazeera Shield, joint military projects and sustaining cooperation in the issue of arms-smuggling to GCC countries.

The council, in its final communiqué, also reviewed recommendations forwarded by the joint defense council during its eighth regular session held in Muscat last November.

In the security domain, the council examined coordination in light of outcomes of the 28th meeting for GCC interior ministers, held in Muscat.

The council expressed relief over achievements made in this regard, which positively reflected on societies of the GCC, reaffirming the need to intensify the process of information exchange among all GCC security bodies.

It also welcomed Qatar's signing of the security agreement, hoping for complete ratification for such agreement, along with other security accords by all Member States.

In legal affairs, the council endorsed recommendations forwarded by the GCC justice ministers; approving the Muscat amended bill for unified real estate registration and its manifesto as guide book for the next four years.

Regarding manpower development, the council expressed content for actions taken in implementing decisions vis-à-vis the issue, as well as developmental efforts exerted by member states in the education domain.

The council also approved the general framework for executive programs for the cultural strategy for GCC, as it also commended the decision to award Bahraini Premier Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the Avicenna gold medal in recognition of his efforts and achievements in promoting education, particularly ICTs in education, and culture in Bahrain, in the Arab world, and beyond.

The council underlined significance of stimulating inter-faith dialogue as embodied by initiative of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

Yet, the communiqué noted, the council was overwhelmed by results of the public referendum that banned the construction of minarets in Switzerland, and the endeavor of some countries in supporting such decision, which, according to the communiqué, is an “unacceptable” approach, and is seen as discrimination against Islam and thwarts efforts exerted in narrowing the cultural gap among different civilizations.

In this connection, the council called on the Swiss Federation, as well as the international community, to intensify efforts in order to safeguard religious rights and protect places of worship.

In the domain of scientific and technological cooperation, the council was briefed with steps taken to using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in member States, underlining importance for efforts in this regard to continue.

Two guide books were approved in the domain of joint municipal action; one from Saudi Arabia on establishing urban observatories and another from Bahrain on municipal customs and means to collect them.

The council also reviewed the memo on ethical challenges faced by the Gulf youth, as it tasked concerned ministerial committees to follow up in this issue.

The council reviewed projections of the GCC Consultative Authority on the council's journey, impacts of the global economic crisis on GCC countries and measures taken to face them and GCC's food and water security. All projections were approved and forwarded to concerned ministerial committees.

For the 13th session of the authority, issues of developing crops, livestock and fish resources, global warming and climate change, people of special needs would be discussed in order for its outcomes to be discussed in the 31st GCC summit.

The council also expressed content over outcomes of the third meeting for GCC chairmen of the GCC parliamentary councils, held earlier this month in Kuwait.

The GCC leaders approved the appointment of the Bahraini nominee as the next Secretary General of the Gulf bloc as of 2011.

Regarding Yemen, the council was briefed with the report by GCC secretary general, as it expressed relief over financing developmental projects in the Arab country as it also urged donor countries to abide by pledges made in the London Donors' Conference.

It also ratified Yemen's membership in GCC post service undersecretaries' committee.

STAND ON TERROR

The GCC reiterated its solid stance on terrorism and the threat it posed to societies, as well as the importance of fighting it and rooting out its sources of finance and extremist ideologies behind it.

The GCC called for intensifying international efforts in facing terrorism, through the exchange of information and not using the territories of countries to plan or encourage terrorist activities.

The Supreme Council of the GCC underscored the importance of recommendations of the International Counter-Terrorism Conference, held in Riyadh in 2005, and its adoption of the initiative of the Saudi monarch for the establishment of an international centre for fighting terrorism, which would boost international efforts in this area.

It also reiterated its solid stance abhorring all forms of terrorism, and once again condemned all terrorist activities that resulted in the death of innocent people and the destruction of property.

The council underscored the need to stand up to terrorism collectively, and called for international cooperation, exchange of information, preventing the use of territories for planning terrorist activities in other countries, and cooperating in the handover of elements abroad implicated in terrorist acts.

MARINE PIRACY

On marine piracy, the Supreme Council expressed its concern over the continued acts of piracy in international waterways, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and others.

It underscored the need to intensify regional and international coordination to tackle these criminal acts and to apprehend their perpetrators, in line with international and local laws.

Moreover, the Supreme Council lauded the efforts of the GCC naval forces taking part in anti-piracy operations and the protection of waterways, working under the Saudi-led Arab naval force.

It also expressed its appreciation to the Bahraini armed forces for their efforts within the international CTF 150 forces. Darfur crisis.

The communiqué praised the efforts of the Sudanese government to resolve the Darfur problem as well as other efforts to reach a peaceful solution negotiated upon by the various parties.

The Supreme Council also expressed its solidarity with the Republic of Sudan, rejecting the action taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the conflict in Darfur.

In this context, the Supreme Council lauded the good efforts made by Qatar as part of the Arab Ministerial Committee and in coordination with the African joint mediator for the African Union and the United Nations for arranging and sponsoring peace talks in Doha between the Sudanese government and the armed movements.

The Council looks forward to the success of these negotiations and reach the desired agreement between the Sudanese parties, welcoming content of the last November Doha Declaration's principles that stressed that Darfur is part of the unified Sudan and the Darfur issue is a political one that can only be resolved through serious dialogue, expressing support for the efforts the State of Qatar to reach a just and sustainable peace in Darfur.

SOMALIA UNREST

On the issue of the Somalia, the Supreme Council expressed regret at the continued deterioration of the situation in Somalia and condemned the terrorist operation that targeted students, officials and civilians in a hotel in the capital Mogadishu in early December.

It renewed its call for all Somali parties to stop violence and give up all the violent acts that create obstacles in the way of national reconciliation efforts, reiterating its support for the agreement reached in Djibouti on June 9, 2008 and the legitimate government led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmad.

It urged all Somali parties to abide by the agreements and commitments that have been signed in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of King Abdullah aimed at putting an end to human suffering and provide security, stability and prosperity to the people of the Somali people.

IRAQ SECURITY

The Supreme Council expressed its condemnation of the bombings of Iraqi cities, expressing hope that Iraq and its brotherly people achieve the sought security and stability.

It underscored its firm position on respect for Iraq's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as non-interference in its internal affairs and the preservation of its Arab and Islamic identity.

The communiqué also stressed that achieving security and stability requires accelerating the achievements of national reconciliation so far in Iraq for the success of an inclusive political process that must accommodate all segments of the Iraqi people without exception or discrimination.