FM Qureshi welcomes Gulf states ending rift with Qatar

By Staff Reporter
Friday – January 8, 2021
ISLAMABAD: On successful 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit wherein with effective mediation of Kuwait the Gulf leaders agreed to reopen land, air, sea borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar along-with ending the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, the foreign minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi extending his best wishes, Thursday, held a telephonic conversation with Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

According to press releases, FM Qureshi appreciated the positive developments that led to a successful GCC summit in Al-Ula City of Saudi Arabia.

He hoped the spirit of cooperation in the GCC summit will augur well for enhanced confidence and cooperation among the countries of the organisation.

Separately, in a telephone conversation with Saudi Arabian FM Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, FM Qureshi congratulated his Saudi counterpart on the positive role played by Saudi Arabia in the resolution of outstanding issues among the members of the GCC.

He hoped the spirit of cooperation exhibited at the GCC summit will promote confidence and cooperation among the GCC countries and will also contribute towards enhanced regional peace, security and development.

Meanwhile, in his telephone conversation with Bahraini FM Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, FM Qureshi congratulated his counterpart on the successful GCC summit, hoped the spirit of cooperation will strengthen peace in the region and lead to progress and prosperity.

The 41st GCC summit’s Al-Ula declaration, signed on Tuesday, reads:

The 41st Summit of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) affirms the commitment of the Member States to the goals stipulated in the GCC Charter:

  • To achieve coordination and integration between the Member States in all fields to eventually reach a union of states.

  • To achieve security, peace, stability, and prosperity in the region by working as a single, unified economic and political group and contribute

  • The outcomes of the 41st GCC Summit, which was titled “Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah,” reflects the hopes and aspirations of the region’s peoples to restore collaboration among all Member States to its natural path, and further strengthen the bonds of brotherhood among them.

    The signature of the Arab Republic of Egypt on the Al-Ula Statement confirms the strengthening of diplomatic relations between Egypt and GCC states. This confirmation extends from the GCC Charter, which stipulates that coordination, cooperation and integration between the GCC states aims to reinforce and serve Arab interests.

    The world’s answers to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated what can be achieved when the global community works together. During the presidential term of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the G20 states managed to accomplish unprecedented achievements in this area. Responding to the pandemic and its effects requires robust GCC coordination, particularly in the following areas:

    The full implementation of the vision put forth by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the 36th GCC Summit in December 2015. This includes abiding by a timetable, the completion of economic integration, the implementation of joint defence and security systems, and a unified foreign policy for the Member States.

    Establishing and running the Gulf Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which was approved by the 41st GCC Summit based on the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz to coordinate efforts in combating COVID-19 and other epidemics.

    Completing the requirements for the Customs Union and the Common Gulf Market. This includes achieving full economic citizenship that grants citizens of GCC countries the freedom to work, move and relocate, and invest in the Member States. As well as equal access to education and health care, the construction of the Gulf railway network, the creation of food and water security systems, and continuing to encourage joint projects that localise investment in the Gulf.

    Utilising the advanced cooperation frameworks developed during the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency in all sectors. This includes economic stimulus and business initiatives, enhancing civil society institutions, empowering women and youth in economic development, and encouraging digital entrepreneurship. In turn, the Supreme Council tasks the General Secretariat to follow up and develop programs to execute the mentioned objectives in collaboration with specialist consultancies.

    Developing technical capabilities at government entities, including artificial intelligence to ensure quick and efficient execution of services. Upgrading school curriculums, healthcare, e-commerce, and enhancing relations between the Council and the Digital Cooperation Organisation established in 2020 to further advance digitisation goals among the Member States.

    Strengthening governance, transparency, accountability, integrity, and anti-corruption mechanisms through Joint-Gulf action and in all entities of the GCC, including its specialised bureaus. As well as benefiting from the agreements of the G20 framework and the “Riyadh Initiative” pertaining to cooperation in investigations of cross-border corruption and the prosecution of the perpetrators in order to mitigate the impact corruption has on economic growth, sustainable development, and mutual trust between governments and their peoples.

    Stemming from the Joint-Defense Agreement and the principle of collective security for GCC countries: Further military integration among GCC countries under the supervision of the Joint-Defense Council, the Supreme Military Committee, and the unified military leadership of the GCC, to face emerging challenges.

    Continuing the actions taken by the GCC countries, and the G20 headed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to confront the pandemic and mitigate its effects locally, regionally, and internationally, including assisting underdeveloped countries in health and economic fields.

    Strengthening the regional and international role of the GCC by unifying policy and developing strategic partnerships between the GCC and other states, groups, regional organisations, and international organisations in the interest of serving common goals.

    The “Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah Summit” reaffirms the keenness of the leaders of the countries of the GCC to reinforce the Council’s strengths, realise the aspirations of the citizens of the Gulf, and overcome all obstacles that hinder collaboration among Member States.

    The United States (US), on Tuesday, welcomed the breakthrough to restore Gulf and Arab unity.

    US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said, “We are encouraged by the breakthrough made with the Al-Ula declaration at the GCC summit, which marks a positive step toward restoring Gulf and Arab unity.”

    He continued, “We have long stressed that a truly united Gulf will bring added prosperity through the free flow of goods and services and more security to its people.”

    US secretary of state Pompeo appreciated, “We welcome the pledge to restore cooperation in military, economic, health, counter-corruption, and cultural initiatives.”

    He mentioned, “We hope the Gulf countries will continue to reconcile their differences” adding “Restoring full diplomatic relations is imperative for all parties in the region to unite against common threats” stressing “We are stronger when we stand together.”

    US secretary of state Pompeo concluded, “The US thanks Kuwait for its mediation efforts and support in resolving the Gulf dispute.”