05 December 2023

44th GCC Summit Final Communique Condemns Attack on Gaza, Affirms Support for Palestinian People

  • QNA_AMIR-GROUP0501202023

Doha, December 05 (QNA) - The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council issued the concluding statement of the forty-fourth Gulf Summit held today in Doha. In this statement, the Council expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people, condemning the aggression against Gaza. They urged the international community to halt the war on Gaza and praised the State of Qatar's efforts, in partnership with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America, reaching in a humanitarian pause to alleviate the dire humanitarian conditions in the region, to release detainees, allow more humanitarian aid convoys, including fuel for essential needs.

The Council, in the concluding statement of the Doha Summit, extended congratulations to HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, for assuming the presidency of the current session. They expressed appreciation for his opening speech, emphasizing the importance of enhancing cooperation among the Council's member states across all domains. The Council also conveyed deep gratitude for the significant and sincere efforts of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman and his government during Oman's presidency of the forty-third session, recognizing substantial progress and noteworthy achievements made during that period.

The Council commended the joint extraordinary Arab and Islamic summit convened by Saudi Arabia on Nov. 11 to address the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. It highlighted the efforts of the ministerial committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, aimed at formulating an international initiative to halt the war in Gaza. This initiative seeks to push for a genuine and comprehensive political process for enduring peace based on recognized international references.

The Council commended the joint extraordinary Arab and Islamic summit convened by Saudi Arabia on Nov. 11 to address the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. It highlighted the efforts of the ministerial committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, aimed at formulating an international initiative to halt the war in Gaza. This initiative seeks to push for a genuine and comprehensive political process for enduring peace based on recognized international references.

Furthermore, the Council welcomed the outcomes of the 32nd Arab summit held in Saudi Arabia on May 19, 2023. It expressed hope that these efforts would contribute to de-escalation, cessation of targeting and forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, leading to a complete cessation of hostilities in Gaza. The Council emphasized the necessity for the international community to handle this issue without applying double standards.

The Council also praised Qatar's prominent role in mediation, resulting in the release of detainees in both Iran and the United States. This underscores Qatar's position as a trusted international mediation partner.

As for Turkiye's participation in the 44th Gulf Summit, the Council welcomed the esteemed guest, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkiye. Discussions focused on mutual interests, particularly the Palestinian issue and Israeli aggression on Gaza. Both sides emphasized the importance of enhancing cooperation within the framework of strategic dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Turkiye. They agreed on the significance of implementing joint action plans, expanding their scope, and strengthening their partnership.

The Council extended heartfelt condolences to the victims of earthquakes in Morocco, southern Turkiye, and northern Syria. It expressed solidarity and support from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for those affected, emphasizing their significant role in humanitarian and relief efforts.

The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council commended the progress achieved by the United Arab Emirates in the field of space exploration. Following the success of the UAE's Mars exploration project and the lunar exploration project, the UAE accomplished another milestone with the successful completion of the first long-term mission for Arab astronauts. This achievement marked the return of the Emirati astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi, to Earth in early Sep. 2023. It stands as a historical accomplishment for the UAE, following the completion of the 'Zayed 2 Project,' a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. The mission achieved numerous scientific milestones, notably the first spacewalk by an Arab astronaut outside the International Space Station.
The Council also highlighted the progress made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within its space program for astronauts, exploring and utilizing outer space for peaceful purposes. This progress includes sending Saudi astronauts in May 2023 and the development of national talents and capabilities through the exchange and transfer of expertise in this field. It aims to enhance research and development activities, accelerate the growth of space-related technologies, resulting in positive outcomes for knowledge development, scientific research, and practical applications. Additionally, the Council reaffirmed its support for the decisions of the OPEC+ group aimed at achieving balance in oil markets, supporting prosperity for the region's peoples and the world, and bolstering global economic growth.

The Supreme Council congratulated the United Arab Emirates on hosting the COP28 Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It praised the leading role undertaken by the UAE in confronting climate change, especially following the announcement by HH President of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, during the opening of the Heads of State Summit at the 28th Climate Conference on Dec. 1, 2023. The announcement included the establishment of a $30 billion global climate solutions fund, designed to bridge the climate financing gap, facilitate affordable access, and stimulate the mobilization and investment of $250 billion by 2030. Additionally, it declared the UAE's contribution of $100 million to the Climate Loss and Damage Fund.

Moreover, the Supreme Council celebrated the victory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hosting 'Expo 2030,' affirming its support for this hosting. It considered the success of this global event as a success for all countries and peoples of the council. Through organizing major events that promote cultural dialogue and facilitate communication, it reinforces the region's position as an international business hub. It expressed support for Saudi Arabia's hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2034, wishing them success in hosting this global sporting event.

Furthermore, the Supreme Council extended congratulations to Qatar on the opening of 'Expo Doha 2023' for gardening, themed 'Green Desert... Better Environment.' It wished Qatar success in hosting this event to provide innovative solutions to combat desertification, support agriculture, promote environmental awareness, and ensure the sustainability of desert regions. 

The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reviewed the report of the General Secretariat regarding the progress made in implementing the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to enhance joint GCC action. This vision was endorsed by the Supreme Council in its 36th session in December 2015. The Council emphasized the complete, precise, and continuous implementation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' vision, including completing the elements of economic unity, the joint defense and security systems, coordinating positions to enhance solidarity and stability of the Council's countries, preserving their interests, avoiding regional and international conflicts, meeting the aspirations of their citizens, enhancing their regional and international roles through unifying political stances, and developing strategic partnerships with the international community, regional and international organizations, sisterly and friendly countries.

The Supreme Council directed the specialized bodies, ministerial and technical councils, the General Secretariat, and all Council's agencies to redouble efforts to complete the remaining steps to implement the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' vision within a specified timeline and with meticulous follow-up. It tasked the General Secretariat with submitting a detailed report on this matter for the upcoming session of the Supreme Council.

The Council reviewed the consultations on implementing the decision of the Supreme Council in its thirty-second session regarding the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (may God have mercy on him), to transition from the stage of cooperation to the stage of union. It directed the continuation of efforts to move from the stage of cooperation to the stage of union and tasked the ministerial council and the head of the specialized authority to complete the necessary procedures and present the outcomes to the next session of the Supreme Council.

Moreover, the statement expressed its keenness on the strength and cohesion of the GCC, unity among its members, achieving more coordination, integration, and interconnection in all fields to meet the aspirations of its citizens. It reiterated the unity of its countries in facing any threat to any of them.

The Supreme Council reviewed the developments in joint Gulf work, expressing satisfaction with the steps taken to achieve integration among the Council's countries. It directed the competent bodies in the member states, the General Secretariat, ministerial and technical committees to intensify efforts to complete the requirements of the customs union, finalize the establishment of the common Gulf market according to previous decisions, and expedite achieving economic unity among the GCC countries.

The Supreme Council adopted the unified mandatory volunteer work law, extended the Inputs and Organic Products Law, and approved the rules for preventing and protecting against domestic violence, exploitation, and harm within the GCC countries, affirming the principles stated in the Human Rights Declaration for the GCC countries and in line with relevant regional and international conventions and agreements. It also approved the Muscat Document on Child Protection Rules during the investigative stage as mandatory.

Additionally, the Supreme Council expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the seventeenth regular meeting of Their Excellencies and Their Honors the Presidents of the Legislative Councils (Shura, Representatives, National, and Nation) in the GCC countries, held in Qatar (November 2023), appreciating the efforts made by the member countries' councils to contribute to enhancing joint Gulf work. 

Regarding environmental protection, climate change, and renewable energies, the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in its concluding statement of the 44th GCC Summit, affirmed its adoption of the fundamental pillars of energy transitions (energy security, economic development, and climate change). This is through the continuation of sustainable investments in hydrocarbon resources to maintain stability in global energy markets, considering technological advancements by adopting the circular carbon economy approach as a comprehensive method to address challenges arising from greenhouse gas emissions. The Council emphasized managing these emissions using all available technologies and innovations to ensure the effectiveness, coherence, and alignment of these fundamental pillars.

The Council commended the achievements and efforts of the member states in the four pillars of the circular carbon economy (reducing, reusing, recycling, and removing emissions) encompassed by the Saudi Green Initiative and specific national contributions of GCC countries (such as renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, clean hydrogen production, carbon capture, storage, and utilization, and nature-based carbon removal solutions). It urged cooperation among GCC countries to apply the circular carbon economy approach in policies, mechanisms, strategies, plans, and related initiatives, including specific national contributions, affirming the enhancement of joint efforts to maximize the impact of GCC countries' efforts and initiatives in energy transition and climate change. This involves activating cooperation, exchanging expertise, and developing capacities with regional countries under the Green Middle East initiative.

Concerning joint military and security work, the Supreme Council approved the decisions of the Joint Defense Council in its 20th meeting held on Nov. 21, 2023, emphasizing the importance of enhancing joint military work. It reviewed the progress of joint military work in its various aspects and aimed to achieve collective military integration among the armed forces of GCC countries. It also acknowledged the continued joint military work through the unified military command, its units, and affiliated centers, along with joint exercises and coordination meetings for exercises during 2023.
Additionally, the Supreme Council approved the decisions of Their Highnesses, Excellencies, and Ministers of Interior in their 40th meeting held on Nov. 8, 2023, affirming the importance of enhancing joint security work.

The Supreme Council endorsed the unified guidance law for combating drugs and psychotropic substances, expressing gratitude for the efforts of agencies combating drugs, involving joint initiatives to monitor emerging criminal phenomena, exploitation of social media, and modern technology in drug trafficking operations targeting GCC countries.

The Council welcomed the efforts of the Committee of Interior Ministers regarding the unified tourist visa and adopted the outcomes concerning this matter, authorizing the Interior Ministers to take necessary measures for implementation. 

Regarding regional and international issues, the Supreme Council reaffirmed the GCC countries' commitment to maintaining stability and security in the region, supporting the prosperity of their people, and strengthening the council's relations with sisterly and friendly countries, regional organizations, and international entities. This commitment stems from the GCC's role as a cornerstone for regional and global peace and security. The Council aims to enhance the GCC's role in achieving peace, sustainable development, and serving the lofty aspirations of the Arab and Islamic nations. It emphasizes respect for sovereignty principles and non-interference in internal affairs, based on international treaties, norms, and laws, while rejecting any threats against any of its member states.

The Council emphasized that the security of the GCC countries is indivisible, adhering to the principle of collective defense and the concept of collective security outlined in the GCC Charter and the common defense agreement. It underlined that the security of the GCC countries is an essential component of Arab national security as outlined by the Arab League's charter. Additionally, the Council reaffirmed its opposition to foreign interventions in Arab countries from any direction.

Concerning the situation in Gaza, the Supreme Council condemned the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. It stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people during the current developments in Gaza and its surroundings, demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities and Israeli military operations. It also calls for ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid, basic necessities, restoring electricity and water supplies, permitting fuel, food, and medicine to enter Gaza, urging international organizations to participate in these efforts. It called for ending the illegal Israeli blockade, which violates UN Security Council Resolution 2417, condemning the illegal prevention of humanitarian aid and the use of civilian starvation as a method of combat, prohibited by international humanitarian law.

Moreover, the Supreme Council urged the competent authorities in the GCC countries to swiftly implement the outcomes of the "Joint Extraordinary Arab and Islamic Summit on the Israeli Aggression Against the Palestinian People" held in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 11, 2023. It also welcomed the United Nations General Assembly's decision during its 10th emergency special session on Oct. 27, 2023, calling for an immediate, permanent, and sustainable humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, ensuring the cessation of hostile actions, protecting civilians, opening humanitarian corridors, and adhering to international humanitarian law. The Council appreciated the countries that voted in favor of this resolution.

The Council called upon all conflict parties to protect civilians, refrain from targeting them, abide by international law and humanitarian law, urging the release of civilian hostages and detainees, particularly women, children, the sick, and the elderly.

Furthermore, the Supreme Council rejected any justifications or excuses to describe the Israeli aggression on Gaza as self-defense, urging the international community to take necessary actions within the framework of international law to respond to Israel's illegal practices and its policy of collective punishment against the isolated Gaza population. It supports the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land and rejects Israeli actions aimed at displacing or expelling Gaza residents.

The Council condemned the continuous targeting by the Israeli occupation of civilian infrastructure and facilities in Gaza, including hospitals, ambulances, medical teams, refugee camps, and schools. It also denounced the Israeli targeting of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza and international facilities, as part of a series of Israeli violations against all international laws and norms.

The Council acknowledged the assistance provided by the GCC countries to the brethren in Gaza, including official and popular aid. It praised the response of citizens and residents in the GCC countries to humanitarian campaigns supporting the resilience of the Palestinian people in Gaza. It highlighted the efforts made by sisterly and friendly countries and international organizations to cease fire, halt Israeli aggression on Gaza, and provide humanitarian aid to the besieged residents, emphasizing the necessity of delivering humanitarian assistance without obstacles to all parts of Gaza.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, the Supreme Council reaffirmed its unwavering stance on the centrality of the Palestinian cause and the end of Israeli occupation. It supports the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all occupied Palestinian territories since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, and the guarantee of refugee rights, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and legitimate international resolutions. It stresses the need for intensified efforts by the international community to resolve the conflict, meeting all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people based on those principles, urging the UN Security Council to issue a resolution completing the international recognition of an independent Palestinian state and granting full membership in the United Nations body. 

The Supreme Council expressed its support for the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the European Union, and the Arab League to revive the peace process in the Middle East, in collaboration with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It called on the international community to intervene to halt the targeting of Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, attempts to alter its legal status, demographic composition, and the arrangements pertaining to Islamic holy sites. It opposed attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty in contravention of international law, existing international resolutions, and agreements on this matter, emphasizing the necessity to refrain from unilateral actions.

The Council condemned the decision of the Israeli government to arm Israeli settlers in the West Bank under official and military protection, resulting in further crimes against Palestinian civilians, targeting their homes, towns, properties, and sacred sites. It also condemned the racist and extremist statements and speeches against the Palestinian people made by several officials in the Israeli government, a clear violation of international humanitarian law, United Nations resolutions, and Security Council Resolution 2686 dated Jun. 14, 2023, regarding countering hate speech and extremism to prevent conflicts.

Additionally, the Council condemned the repeated intrusions by Israeli officials and settlers into the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, a serious breach of international law and the historical and legal status in the noble Jerusalem and its sanctities, violating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and provoking Muslim sentiments. It underscored that violations and continuous assaults on sanctities exacerbate tension and perpetuate a cycle of ongoing violence, commending the presidential statement issued by the Security Council on Feb. 20, 2023, rejecting the dangerous trends and policies pursued by Israel in the increasing settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories. It reaffirmed its rejection of any move to annex settlements in the West Bank to Israel, a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter, principles of international law, and United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

The Council also denounced Israel's continued construction of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories, urging the international community to pressure Israeli authorities to retract their settlement decisions that defy international laws and resolutions.

The Supreme Council acknowledged the efforts made by Arab countries to achieve national reconciliation to restore Palestinian national unity, reunification, and to secure the interests of the Palestinian people. It commended the generous aid provided by Council member states to support the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and called on the international community to increase its support in light of Israeli attacks on its facilities, enabling it to continue its mission until the return of Palestinian refugees.

Regarding the fight against terrorism and extremism, the Supreme Council reiterated its firm positions and decisions against terrorism from any source, rejecting all its forms, motivations, and justifications, working to cut off its sources of funding and supporting international efforts to combat terrorism, emphasizing that tolerance and coexistence among nations and peoples are among the most important principles and values upon which Council societies are built and in their dealings with other peoples.

The Council also condemned the repeated burning of copies of the Holy Quran in The Hague on Sep. 23, 2023, and in Malmo, Sweden, on Sep. 30, 2023, and in several European countries and others in recent times, allowing extremists to desecrate and burn copies of the Holy Quran. It emphasized the necessity of respecting religions and cultures, enhancing the humanitarian values guaranteed by international law, and the need to hold accountable those responsible for religious hate crimes, rejecting all actions aimed at spreading hatred and extremism.

The Council praised the outcomes of the international conference hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on August 13, 2023, under the title 'Engaging with Religious Affairs and Fatwa Authorities in the World,' aimed at consolidating solidarity and cooperation among Islamic countries to combat extremist ideologies, promote values of tolerance, and coexistence among peoples, affirming the lofty message it conveys in spreading the principles of moderation and balance.

It also welcomed the outcomes of the exceptional meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held on Jul. 31, 2023, called by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the current summit chair, and the Republic of Iraq to discuss the repeated attacks on copies of the Holy Quran in Sweden and Denmark. It stressed the importance of solidifying values of dialogue and respect among peoples and cultures, rejecting anything that promotes hatred and extremism, calling for international efforts to promote these principles in all societies.

The Council commended Security Council Resolution 2686 dated Jun. 14, 2023, which affirmed that hate speech, racism, racial discrimination, hostility toward foreigners, bias, and gender discrimination can contribute to the outbreak of conflicts, urging member states to condemn violence, hate speech, incitement, and extremism.

It reaffirmed the resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council dated July 12, 2023, on combating religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, condemning all forms of religious hatred, including incidents of burning and desecration of the Holy Quran, urging countries to adopt national laws, policies to prevent and combat religious hatred, and hold those responsible accountable.

The Council praised the United Nations General Assembly resolution issued unanimously designating Mar. 15 as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia, to spread a culture of religious tolerance, dialogue, and coexistence, commending the results of the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jun. 8, 2023, reaffirming the commitment of Council states to continue their efforts within the coalition, supporting international and regional efforts against all terrorist organizations.

The Council emphasized the importance of enhancing the relations of the GCC with sisterly and friendly countries, working with regional and international organizations to combat terrorism and extremism and their dangerous effects and repercussions on the region, threatening Arab national security, destabilizing the region, hindering international efforts to combat terrorism, especially the efforts of the Global Coalition to counter ISIS. 

The Supreme Council, in its final statement of the 44th GCC Summit, reaffirmed its firm stances and previous decisions regarding the condemnation of Iran's continued occupation of the three islands (Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and Abu Musa) belonging to the United Arab Emirates. It reiterated support for the UAE's sovereignty rights over the same three islands as well as the UAE's territorial waters, airspace, continental shelf, and exclusive economic zone surrounding these islands, considering them integral parts of the UAE's territories. The Council deemed any decisions, practices, or actions by Iran on the three islands as invalid and ineffective, not altering the historical and legal facts that affirm the UAE's sovereignty over these islands. It called upon Iran to respond to the UAE's efforts to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or resorting to the International Court of Justice.

Regarding the Dorra Gas Field, the Supreme Council affirmed that the entirety of the Dorra Gas Field lies within Kuwait's maritime territories, and that the ownership of natural resources in the submerged area adjacent to the Saudi-Kuwaiti divided area, including the entire Dorra Gas Field, is solely a joint ownership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait. The statement added Both have exclusive rights to exploit the natural resources in that area, in accordance with international law provisions and based on the valid agreements between them. The Council firmly rejected any claims of rights by any other party in this field or the submerged area adjacent to the demarcated area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Regarding relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Supreme Council reiterated its firm positions and decisions concerning relations with Iran. It emphasized Iran's commitment to fundamental principles built on the United Nations Charter, international law treaties, good neighborliness, respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful dispute resolution, and the rejection of sectarianism. Additionally, the Council welcomed the agreement reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in Beijing on Mar. 10, 2023, under the auspices of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This agreement involved the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries, reopening their missions, activating the security cooperation agreement, and the economic cooperation agreement between them. The Council expressed hope that this agreement would constitute a positive step towards resolving disputes, ending all regional conflicts through dialogue, diplomatic means, and establishing relationships based on mutual understanding, respect, good neighborliness, sovereignty respect, non-interference in internal affairs, and commitment to the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, along with international laws and norms.

The Council also appreciated the efforts of the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Iraq for hosting the Saudi-Iranian dialogue rounds during 2021-2022, and the efforts of the People's Republic of China for sponsoring and hosting talks resulting in an agreement to resume Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations. The Council looked forward to this step contributing to enhancing security and peace in the region.

The Supreme Council expressed concern about the developments in the Iranian nuclear file, affirming its readiness to cooperate effectively on this issue. It emphasized the necessity of GCC countries' participation in all regional and international negotiations, meetings, and discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue. Besides the Iranian nuclear program, these negotiations should include all security concerns of the GCC countries, such as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, international navigation safety, and oil facilities. This approach aims to achieve common objectives and interests while respecting sovereignty, good neighborly policies, and adherence to UN resolutions and international legitimacy to ensure regional and international security and stability. The Council stressed the importance of Iran's commitment not to exceed uranium enrichment levels required for peaceful purposes and the necessity of fulfilling its obligations and full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Supreme Council underscored the importance of maintaining maritime security and waterways in the region, countering activities that threaten the region and the world's security and stability. This includes targeting commercial ships, threatening maritime navigation routes and international trade, and endangering oil facilities in GCC countries. 

In relation to Yemen, the Supreme Council reaffirmed its full support for the Presidential Leadership Council headed by HE Dr. Rashed Mohammed Al-Alimi and the supporting entities to achieve security and stability in Yemen. This support aims to reach a political solution in accordance with the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, to safeguard Yemen’s sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and independence. It welcomes the ongoing sincere efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, and communications with all Yemeni parties to revive the political process, leading to a comprehensive and sustainable political solution in Yemen. It emphasizes the necessity of a ceasefire and the crucial engagement of the Houthis positively with international and UN efforts aiming to end the Yemeni crisis and earnestly address peace initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.

The Supreme Council reiterated its support for the United Nations efforts led by its Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, and the efforts of the US Special Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking, to reach a political solution in accordance with the three references. It commends the Yemeni government’s commitment to renew the humanitarian ceasefire announced by the United Nations in Yemen and welcomes the UN Special Envoy's announcement on March 21, 2023, regarding the agreement between the Yemeni government and the Houthis to exchange 887 prisoners, in implementation of the agreement reached between the two sides in Stockholm in December 2018.

It also called for international pressure on the Houthis to lift the blockade on Taizz city and open humanitarian crossings, as stipulated in the UN ceasefire. It appreciates the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to renew the ceasefire in line with the Saudi Arabia-initiated initiative announced in March 2021 to end the crisis in Yemen, halt the fighting, and achieve a comprehensive political solution. It urges the UN envoy to take a firm stance against the actions of the Houthis conflicting with the efforts of the United Nations and regional countries to bring peace to Yemen.

The Supreme Council welcomed the issuance of UN Security Council Resolution 2707 on Nov. 14, 2023, reaffirming commitment to Yemen's unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. It renewed the measures imposed under UN Security Council Resolution 2140, extended asset freezes and travel ban measures in Yemen until Nov. 15, 2024, and renewed the mandate of the expert team until Dec. 15, 2024. Additionally, it confirmed the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and the resolutions of the Arab League Summit (32nd Ordinary Session) and the Jeddah Declaration on May 19, 2023, which reiterated support for ensuring the security and stability of the Republic of Yemen and meeting the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

The Supreme Council also praised the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to provide economic support to the Republic of Yemen amounting to $1.2 billion. This support responds to the Yemeni government's request for assistance in addressing its current budget deficit, supporting salaries, operational expenses, and ensuring food security in Yemen. It commends the developmental projects and initiatives implemented by the Saudi Program for Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, totaling 229 developmental projects and initiatives in 7 core sectors including education, health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, fisheries, and enhancing the capacities of governmental institutions, in addition to developmental programs.

Furthermore, the Supreme Council praised the announcement by the United Arab Emirates of supporting recovery and rehabilitation projects for the current year with a sum of $325 million targeting healthcare, renewable energy, and agriculture sectors. Qatar pledged to establish 10 mobile schools to support student education in Yemen and signed an agreement worth 10 million Euro to expand the project supporting youth entrepreneurship and financial inclusion. Kuwait announced providing 3 additional grants worth $5 million through the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development to support infrastructure sectors, economic recovery programs, and improve Yemeni port facilities. The Supreme Council reiterated the importance of the participation of sisterly and friendly countries in providing economic, humanitarian, and developmental support to the Republic of Yemen to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. 

The Supreme Council also praised the achievements of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center for, along with the humanitarian support provided by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from the Gulf Cooperation Council to the Republic of Yemen. The Council commended all GCC countries for their humanitarian and developmental assistance to Yemen. Additionally, it recognized the efforts of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) in clearing Yemeni territories from landmines, having successfully cleared more than 420,823 mines, unexploded ordnance, and explosive devices, and purified 51,082,121 square meters of land in Yemen. These lands, booby-trapped with mines and unexploded ordnance, were indiscriminately planted by the Houthi militias, resulting in casualties among innocent children, women, and the elderly.

The Council condemned the terrorist attack carried out by the Houthi militias, targeting the participating duty force from the Bahrain Defense Force in the Operation Restore Hope stationed at the southern borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which led to the martyrdom of several brave soldiers and the injury of others. The council reiterated its full solidarity and support with the Kingdom of Bahrain and renewed its call to cease the continued flow of weapons to these militias and prevent their export to Yemeni territories, ensuring compliance with United Nations resolutions.

The Council also condemned continued foreign interventions in Yemen's internal affairs, the smuggling of military experts and weapons to the Houthi militias, in blatant violation of UN resolutions 2216, 2231, and 2624. It noted the announcement by security agencies in Al Mahrah Governorate of referring 16 suspects involved in smuggling weapons and drugs into Yemen to the specialized public prosecution in Hadramout Governorate. Furthermore, it acknowledged the Yemeni Coast Guard's statement on Jan. 11, 2023, regarding the interception of a ship smuggling over two thousand weapons pieces by a vessel operating in the area under the command of the Fifth Fleet of the United States.

The Council welcomed the United Nations' announcement of withdrawing 1.1 million barrels of crude oil from the floating tanker 'Safer' and urged the UN to expedite all remaining actions to address the 'Safer' tanker situation. It praised the efforts of Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, and the UN team, expressing appreciation for the generous financial support in financing this operation from donor countries, including Saudi Arabia's contribution of $18 million, Qatar's $3 million, and Kuwait's $2 million.

Regarding the strategic partnership between the GCC and the Kingdom of Morocco, the Supreme Council emphasized the importance of this partnership, the implementation of the joint action plan, and its unwavering support for the territorial integrity of Morocco, ensuring the security and stability of the Kingdom of Morocco and its territorial unity. It commended the UN Security Council Resolution 2703 issued on October 30, 2023, regarding Western Sahara.

The Supreme Council congratulated the Kingdom of Morocco on the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) adopting the joint file of Morocco alongside Spain and Portugal for organizing the 2030 FIFA World Cup in football.

Regarding Iraq, the Supreme Council reaffirmed its steadfast positions and decisions towards fraternal Iraq, supporting ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and achieve security and stability. It stressed the importance of preserving Iraq's territorial integrity, full sovereignty, Arab-Islamic identity, social fabric, and national unity, supporting the confrontation of terrorist groups and armed militias to uphold the state's sovereignty and law enforcement.

The Supreme Council praised the positive and growing partnership between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq, emphasizing progress in the electrical connection project to link Iraq with the electricity grid of the GCC countries, aiming for greater integration and interconnection between Iraq and the GCC countries, realizing their mutual interests and paving the way for further cooperation in the future.

The Supreme Council condemned all terrorist operations targeting the Republic of Iraq, aimed at civilians and security forces, reaffirming its support for Iraq in combating terrorism and extremism. It condemned all external attacks targeting the Republic of Iraq, emphasizing the necessity of respecting the country's sovereignty, regional integrity, and reaffirming the GCC countries' unified stance alongside fraternal Iraq. 

The Supreme Council emphasized the importance of Iraq's respect for Kuwait's sovereignty and territorial integrity, commitment to bilateral and international agreements, and all relevant United Nations resolutions, especially Security Council Resolution 833 (1993) concerning demarcation of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi land and sea borders. The Council called upon Iraq to earnestly work toward completing the maritime border demarcation beyond Maritime Marker 162 between the two countries. Additionally, it urged the Iraqi government to adhere to the Maritime Navigation Agreement in Khawr Abd Allah, signed between Kuwait and Iraq on Apr. 29, 2012, which entered into force on Dec. 5, 2013, after approval by both Kuwaiti and Iraqi parliaments and joint submission to the United Nations on Dec. 18, 2013.

The Supreme Council also expressed complete rejection of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's ruling on this matter, rejected historical fallacies within the ruling, considered any unilateral decisions, practices, or actions by Iraq related to the Khawr Abd Allah Agreement null and void. Furthermore, it rejected Iraq's unilateral action to annul the 2008 Security Exchange Protocol and its associated map, integral to the Joint Plan for ensuring navigation safety in Khawr Abd Allah, signed by both parties on Dec. 28, 2014, which outlined clear procedures for amendments and cancellations.

Moreover, the Supreme Council reaffirmed support for UN Security Council Resolution 2107 (2013), which mandated the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to enhance, support, and facilitate efforts related to the search for missing Kuwaitis, third-country nationals, and determining their fate or repatriating their remains within the framework of the Tripartite Committee and its Subsidiary Technical Committee, established under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross. It stressed the importance of ongoing Security Council monitoring of the file concerning the issue of missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals through periodic reports provided by the UN Secretary-General on the latest developments in this ongoing humanitarian issue. The Council called upon Iraq and the United Nations to exert maximum efforts to achieve a final resolution to all these outstanding issues and files.

Regarding the Syrian situation, the Supreme Council reiterated its firm commitment to preserving the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, rejecting regional interference in its internal affairs. It supported UN efforts towards a political solution in Syria, aligned with Security Council Resolution 2254, and backed the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen. Additionally, it supported efforts to care for Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons, facilitating their safe and voluntary return to Syria according to international standards. It opposed any attempts to create demographic changes in Syria. The Council welcomed the statement from the Ministerial Communication Committee regarding the Syrian crisis, issued on Aug. 15, 2023, emphasizing the importance of resolving the Syrian crisis and addressing its political, security, and humanitarian consequences, the return of abductees and missing persons, and combating drugs, in line with the commitments outlined in the May 1, 2023, Oman statement. The Council also looked forward to the resumption of the Syrian Constitutional Committee's work.

Additionally, the Supreme Council welcomed the UN and Syrian government's announcement of reaching an agreement on Aug. 7, 2023, to deliver humanitarian aid through Bab Al Hawa for six months, emphasizing the importance of continued humanitarian aid delivery and alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people.

Concerning Lebanon, the Supreme Council affirmed the Gulf Cooperation Council's consistent positions supporting the Lebanese people, sovereignty, security, and stability, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces' role in safeguarding its borders and countering extremist and terrorist threats. It stressed the importance of implementing comprehensive political and economic structural reforms to overcome Lebanon's political and economic crisis, preventing it from becoming a hub for terrorists, drug trafficking, or other criminal activities threatening regional security and stability. The Council emphasized the importance of the Lebanese government's control over all Lebanese territories, including the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Taif Agreement to exercise its full sovereignty, ensuring no weapons without the Lebanese government's consent and no authority other than its own.

Moreover, the Council welcomed the joint statement issued during the second meeting of the Quintet Group for Lebanon on Jul. 17, 2023, involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the United States, and France. It emphasized the need to expedite the presidential elections and implement necessary economic reforms for the Lebanese government to fulfill its responsibilities toward its citizens. It praised the efforts of Lebanon's friends and partners in restoring and enhancing trust and cooperation between Lebanon and the GCC countries and their support for the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces in maintaining Lebanon's security.

Concerning Libya, the Supreme Council reiterated its consistent positions and decisions on the Libyan crisis, emphasizing the commitment to safeguarding the interests of the Libyan people, achieving security, stability, and development in Libya, ensuring its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and ending foreign interference in its internal affairs. It called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan territories, supported UN efforts to reach a political solution, hold elections, and unify state institutions to fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people and establish security and stability.

The Council extended sincere condolences to the families of the victims and the government and people of Libya following the floods in the Libyan city of Derna.
Additionally, the Supreme Council welcomed the consensus reached by the Joint Committee (6+6) formed from the Libyan House of Representatives and the High Council of State during their meetings in the sisterly Kingdom of Morocco on June 6-7, 2023, regarding laws governing the election of the head of state and parliament, considering it a positive and constructive step towards presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Council also expressed concern about the recurring armed clashes in Libyan territories, endangering the security and safety of the Libyan people and undermining the country's stability. It reaffirmed the support of GCC countries for Libya and the political process, along with relevant Security Council resolutions, to preserve its security, stability, and sovereignty. It urged all parties in Libya to halt the conflict, ensuring de-escalation and preserving lives, advocating for wisdom, reason, and political dialogue to resolve differences in the interest of Libya, achieving its highest interests in development and prosperity. 

On Sudan, the Supreme Council affirmed its firm stances and decisions regarding the importance of preserving Sudan's sovereignty, security, stability, and territorial integrity. It stands in support against the current crisis, emphasizing the necessity of calmness, dialogue, unity, lifting the suffering of the Sudanese people, preserving the national institutions' coherence, preventing their collapse, and thwarting any external interference that fuels conflict, threatening regional peace and security.

The Council welcomed the resumption of talks between the representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Oct. 29, 2023, aiming to achieve a permanent ceasefire and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Additionally, the Council praised the announcement made by mediators (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, and the "EGAD" governmental body in conjunction with the African Union) on Oct. 29, 2023, committing to de-escalation, dialogue, and bridging Sudanese parties' perspectives. Also, acknowledging the statement issued on Nov. 7, 2023, by the Sudanese parties committing to facilitating humanitarian aid access, aiming to reach an agreement that spares the Sudanese people the woes of war and conflicts, fulfilling their aspirations, contributing to the country's security, stability, and overall prosperity in all sectors.

The Council also recognized the outcomes of the Summit of Sudan's Neighboring Countries hosted by the Arab Republic of Egypt on Jul. 13, 2023, supporting all efforts aimed at restoring security, stability, and regional integrity, extending humanitarian aid and bridges from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people, alongside aid from brotherly and friendly nations and international organizations.

Regarding Afghanistan, the Council stressed the importance of restoring security and stability in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to meet the Afghan people's aspirations and benefit regional and international peace and security. It emphasized women's education and employment rights, minority protection, preventing Afghan lands' use by terrorist groups or drug trafficking. The Council commended Qatar's continued coordination of international efforts in Afghanistan and facilitating dialogue between the United Nations and concerned nations and the Afghan de facto authority to ensure adherence to the Doha Agreement.

Furthermore, the Supreme Council expressed sincere condolences to the victims' families and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan due to the earthquake in western Afghanistan. It condemned all terrorist acts targeting civilians, schools, places of worship, hospitals, and affirmed solidarity in combating terrorism, enhancing security, stability, and offering continuous humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Concerning the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the Supreme Council reiterated its adherence to international law principles, the UN Charter, and maintaining the current international order, respecting states' sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, and refraining from using or threatening force. It supported the Council's mediation efforts in resolving the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire, political crisis resolution through dialogue, and negotiation.

The Council commended Saudi Arabia for hosting a meeting of National Security Advisors and representatives of several countries and international organizations on Aug. 5, 2023, regarding the Ukrainian crisis. It recognized these initiatives and Saudi Arabia's positive endeavors to contribute to a permanent peace, alleviate the crisis's humanitarian effects, and the successful Saudi mediation in releasing a group of detainees from both sides. It also praised Qatar's mediation efforts in reuniting Ukrainian children with their families in Ukraine.

Moreover, the Council acknowledged the humanitarian and relief aid provided by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of continuing the grain export agreement between Russia and Ukraine through the Black Sea, expressing support for facilitating grain and food exports to affected countries to ensure food security.

Regarding strengthening strategic partnerships with countries and groups, the Council lauded the outcomes of the joint summit between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Central Asian countries hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Jul. 19, 2023, and the joint summit between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on October 20, 2023. It directed for the swift implementation of the agreed-upon items from these summits.

The Supreme Council was informed of the outcomes of the strategic dialogue meetings between the Gulf Cooperation Council and several other countries and groups held this year, including ministerial meetings with the United States, the European Union, the Caribbean Community, the United Kingdom, and Japan. It instructed for the prompt implementation of resolutions and joint action plans agreed upon, strengthening partnerships with active countries and organizations worldwide.

The Council also congratulated the Sultanate of Oman for successfully organizing the 27th Joint Council meeting between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Union in Muscat on October 9-10, 2023, establishing regular and organized dialogue between the Council's countries and the European Union in the regional security field. Additionally, it welcomed the European Union's joint declaration on the strategic partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Supreme Council welcomed the initialing of the free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, paving the way for its final signing, aiming to bolster economic relations with other countries and blocs, and achieving mutual trade and investment interests. It also welcomed the joint statement on resuming negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement with Japan.

Concerning the upcoming session, the Council welcomed Kuwait's presidency of its 45th session. (QNA)



Keywords

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