Cleansing time: GCC agrees to remove "impurities" to improve relations between nations
Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE pulled their ambassadors out of Qatar in a diplomatic row earlier this year, straining GCC relations (File/AFP)
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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to develop principles and criteria to remove “impurities” in their relations “as soon as possible and through the implementation of previously agreed commitments.”
“The meeting of the GCC foreign ministers on the progress of joint action was held in a positive spirit and under the guidance of the GCC leaders who asserted their determination to complete the blessed forward-looking movement that spanned more than 33 years to meet the challenges and issues that have faced the Council,” Kuwait Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah, whose country is the current GCC chair, said following the meeting in Jeddah.
“I can confirm that all the Gulf countries are pained by the situation they have lived and we are all keen on removing all impurities. We are all aware of the risks that surround the region and which call for urgency to remove all impurities and obstacles to the completion of the GCC progress,” he said, quoted by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).
The Kuwaiti minister said that the six-nation GCC agreed at the meeting on the criteria to address the “impurities and obstacles.”
“We all agreed on the importance of being fully committed to the implementation, and God willing, we will see the results of the agreement in the near future,” he said.
Shaikh Sabah said that the reinstatement of the Bahrain, Saudi and Emirati ambassadors to Qatar could happen “any time.”
“There was a positive and fraternal spirit that currently prevails among the GCC countries and everyone is aware of the dangers lurking in the region. This positive spirit will reflect in the results that will be achieved soon,” he said.
A diplomatic row broke out publicly between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on March 5 when the three countries pulled out their ambassadors from Qatar, citing differences over policies related to national and Gulf interests.
Efforts have been deployed since then to iron out the differences and reach an agreement that would address the issues and defuse the tension.
The ministers at the meeting in Jeddah renewed their condemnation of terrorism and extremism “regardless of their motives, reasons and sources” and affirmed that tolerance and co-existence between nations and peoples were among the foundations of their domestic and foreign policies.
“The Council stressed that it stood against terrorist threats facing the region and the world, and wanted to see security, stability and peace. It also confirmed its commitment to fighting the ideologies used as premises and motivations by the terrorist groups, given that Islam is not in any way linked to them,” the ministers said in their communiqué.
Regional and international cooperation should be intensified to combat acts of terrorist and to bring their perpetrators to justice, they said.
“The Council valued the support of Saudi Arabia to the UN Centre for Combating terrorism by donating $100 million, in addition to its previous support of $10 million to carry out its missions,” the communiqué said. “The Council called on the other countries to emulate the example of Saudi Arabia towards the Centre to combat terrorism globally and at all levels.”
The ministers said that they supported the right of sovereignty of the UAE over the three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa, and the territorial waters, airspace, continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of the three islands, saying they were as an integral part of the UAE.
They added that any decisions, acts or practices undertaken by Iran over the three islands were null and void.
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