The GCC leaders reiterated on Tuesday at the end of their 31st Summit in Abu Dhabi their unwavering stand towards the UAE's sovereignty over its three islands Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa - occupied by Iran.
In their closing statement, the GCC leaders threw their weight behind the UAE's right to regain sovereignty over its three islands and over the territorial waters, the airspace, the continental shelf, and the economic zone of the three islands, as they are an integral part of the United Arab Emirates.
The leaders expressed their disappointment that the repeated contacts with the Islamic Republic of Iran have not produced any positive outcomes that would contribute to the resolution of the issue, and maintain the security and stability of the region.
The final statement of the two-day Abu Dhabi summit demanded Iran to commit itself to the basic principles of promoting good neighbourly ties, mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs, settlement of disputes through peaceful means and refrain from using or threatening to use the force in that respect.
The GCC leaders welcomed the international efforts, especially those made by the Group (5+1), to deal with the Iranian nuclear dossier and hoped that Iran would react positively to those efforts.
The statement said: "The GCC monitored with grave concern the developments in the dossier and reiterated its firm position on the importance of compliance with principles of the international legitimacy, resolution of disputes through peaceful means and making the Middle East, including the Gulf area, free of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons.
Cross-border branches allowed
The GCC leaders passed a resolution allowing GCC companies to open branches in member states.
The GCC leaders expressed satisfaction at the performance of the GCC economies.
On terrorism, the statement expressed the GCC's denouncement of violence and terror-related extremism and its support for any regional and international effort for combating terrorism.
The statement called on the international community to back the GCC proposal to establish a World Counter-terrorism Center to strengthen the global efforts in this regard.
The GCC leaders praised the security agencies in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for detecting and smashing terrorists cells.
The Supreme Council welcomed tne kind patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for the GCC's first Olympic Games which will be staged in Manama on 16 April 2011.
The Supreme Council congratulated His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed on the Sultanate's glorious 40th National Day, lauding the remarkable achievements it has made and which qualified it to earn the first slot worldwide in the rapid human development index out of 135 countries. The council wished Oman and its people constant progress, prosperity and welfare.
Likewise, the Supreme Council felicitated 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 historic sporting event and affirmed the GCC's unlimited support for Qatar to enable it render the mundial 2022 a success as a source of pride to the countries and peoples of the GCC and Arab and Muslim countries as well as to peace lovers and a promoter of dialogue between civilisations and cultures.The council appreciated the distinguished efforts made by 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 Sheikh Hamad, at the opening session of the 39th term of the Shura Council and valued his efforts and what Qatar has achieved under his leadership under the national vision of Qatar.
The Supreme Council highlighted 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.
Stability in Yemen
It reiterated its support for the unity, security and stability of Yemen.
The Supreme Council welcomed mediation by Sheikh Hamad, 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 create all factors of success to the recent good initiative based on values and principles of dialogue as a method for settling problems and disputes.
The Supreme Council expressed its support for Qatar's hosting of 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 information spheres and expressed its satisfaction at achievements since the previous summit.
The Supreme Council valued the achievements and gains and underlined its determination to advance the march for the best interest of the GCC member states and welfare of their citizens.
The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction and appreciation at the implementation of recommendations by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia on accelerating performance and removal of obstacles hindering the course of joint action and the Kuwaiti paper on current regional and international challenges.
The Supreme Council evaluated developments of the regional and international political issues in view of the current events in the region and the world at large and took appropriate decisions on them.
GCC joint action
The Supreme Council reviewed recommendations by ministerial committees and the ministerial council on the Vision of Bahrain and emphasised 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.
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.
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 specialised Ministerial Committees, Ministerial Council and the Secretariat General pertaining to the proposals contained in the vision of the State of Qatar about activating the role of the GCC, and the encouraging of mutual investments, in education and health in particular. The Supreme Council has issued relevant directives.
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.
Common Market: The Supreme Council examined the report submitted by 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 equal treatment like national firms as part of efforts to further strengthen ties among GCC nationals.
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.
Development Strategy: To keep pace with the relevant domestic, regional and international developments, the Supreme Council has approved the GCC long-term comprehensive development strategy 2010-2025.
GCC Electricity Grid: The Supreme Council examined a report on the GCC electricity grid connection, phase1 of which was inaugurated last year.
GCC railway project: The Supreme Council was notified on a report by the GCC Secretariat-General on the GCC railway project, relevant studies, detailed engineering designs and gave directives to speed up the implementation of the same.
Laws and regulations on social and industrial affairs: The Supreme Council blessed 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 requirements and international standards.
Human and Environmental Affairs: The Supreme Council discussed a number of issues pertaining to joint action on human and environmental affairs. These include the field of education. The Supreme Council studied a follow-up report by the GCC Secretariat-General on education, and expressed satisfaction at the steps taken to implement the decisions made by it, and at the development endeavours being made by the member states.
Environment: The Supreme Council approved the regional plan of action to prepare for and respond to radiological risk 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.
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.
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.
Dialogue between the followers of religions, cultures and civilisations: The Supreme Council renewed its emphasis on the importance of strengthening dialogue between the followers of different civilisations, religions and cultures, as well as its keenness to extend bridges of convergence between nations and civilisations; as symbolised in the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, and as confirmed by the numerous conferences held under this initiative.
The council affirmed that the dialogue between the followers of civilisations and religions is the most effective way to enhance global understanding and cooperation so as to contribute in bringing security, eliminating the causes of conflicts and unification of efforts to address the problems afflicting the world.
The Council welcomed the State of Qatar for hosting the Fourth Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations in December next year which will be the turning point in the path of the Alliance of Civilizations through the broad participation of all active players.
Military cooperation and joint defence: 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 expressed satisfaction over the achievement of the Peninsula Shield Joint Force on 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 to 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 the workers in armed forces in the GCC States.
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 29th 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 the security of 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.
Counter-Terrorism: The Council affirmed 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, stressing its support for all regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism; at the same time emphasising anew the need to activate the resolutions and statements issued by organisations and regional and international conferences on combating terrorism, and also urging the international community represented by the United Nations to activate the call by the GCC countries to establish an international centre for combating terrorism for the exchange of information and expertise and their coordination among countries to monitor and control the movement of organizations and terrorist elements, and thwart their plans.
The council praised the capability, competence and readiness of the Bahraini security agencies in uncovering and dismantling a network harbouring a terrorist plan that targeted security and stability of the kingdom. It reiterated the member countries 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 destablising 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 destruction 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.
The council stressed the importance of starving 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 emphasised 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.
Legal affairs: The council reviewed recommendations submitted by the justice ministers and approved the following: 1. Extending effect of the following amended bills as pilot laws for another four years, to be renewed automatically: - 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 procedure 2. Extending effect of the following bills as pilot laws for another four years, to be renewed automatically: - 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 procedure for litigation - Doha bill for unified GCC law on notary public 3. Approving the following bills as pilot laws for another four years, to be renewed automatically: - Kuwait bill for unified law on legal and judicial cooperation in penal matters - Kuwait bill for unified law on judicial legl submissions - Kuwait bill for unified law on execution of judicial verdicts - Kuwait bill for unified law on judicial staff - Kuwait bill for unified law on expertise before judiciary WAM/MAB
judiciary Human Rights: The council sanctioned plans to set up the GCC office for human rights as part of the General Secretariat.
Advisory board: The council reviewed the advisory board's insight on the topics under study, including: - Development of indigenous crops of high economic value such as date palms, and enhancing contribution of agricultural, livestock and fisheries resources in the Gross Domestic Product.
- Welfare of the people with special needs and prevent disability.
The council approved the studies and referred them to the concerned ministerial committees.
The council assigned the advisory board to study the following topics: 1. Alternative energy and resources development 2. Looking into possibility of unifying the countries' efforts in the fields of translation and Arabisation Legislative bodies The Council expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the 4th meeting of the Speakers of GCC Legislative Councils, held in Abu Dhabi on 22 November 2010.
Media cooperation: The Council reveiewd and approved the ministerial council's recommendations on the draft 10-year strategy for joint media action.
Cooperation with Republic of Yemen: The Council reviewed the outcome of the 5th meeting of GCC and Yemen foreign ministers, held in Bahrain in June 2010, the Secretary General's reports about cooperation between GCC countries and Yemen, and the ministerial meeting of Yemen friends, held in New York on 24 Septmeber 2010. The Council expressed the hope that the upcoming meeting for Yemen friends, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of 2011, will lead to further support to the sisterly Republic of Yemen to enable it achieve security, stability and decent lving for its citizens.
The Council ordered inclusion of Yemen as a member of the GCC joint media production corporation and congratulated Yemen on successfully hosting the Gulf Cup football tournament.
International Economic Relations: The Council reviewed a General Secretariat report on the GCC countries' international economic relations with friendly countries and groups and welcomed the outcome of the 2nd joint ministerial meeting for strategic dialogue between the GCC ad ASEAN countries, held in Singapore on 31 May 2010. Also welcomed were the results of the 1st meeting for strategic dialogue with China, held in Bejing on 4 June 2010 and the 3rd ministerial meeting for strategic dialogue with Turkey, held in Kuwait on 17 October 2010.
The Council reviewed recommendations by the joint meeting of the GCC foreign, finance, commerce and industry ministers and the ministers responsible of the GCC Free Trade Agreements negotiations with other groups.