Regional challenges focus for GCC Summit
Manama, December 25, 2012
A strong and united GCC is necessary to tackle growing regional challenges, Bahrain’s His Majesty King Hamad said in a keynote speech at the opening of the 33rd GCC Summit in the kingdom.
He voiced the confidence that GCC will continue its successful march as a solid entity to deal with major challenges facing member states, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
His Majesty, who is chairing the two-day summit, stressed the need for the GCC to provide a security umbrella for its citizens and strengthen economic co-operation to build on its historic achievements.
The King described the creation of the GCC as historic and praised the strong role played by Saudi Arabia in furthering its joint march.
He congratulated Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on his successful surgery and praised his pioneering role in consolidating GCC ties.
His Majesty also called for stronger pan-Arab work for a better future, stressing the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
He called for a world free of conflicts, wars, terrorism and piracy - a world of co-existence and tolerance among religions, cultures and civilisations.
In a speech delivered on behalf of King Abdullah, Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the GCC aspires to become a strong union with integrated economies, a joint foreign policy and a common defence system.
He said the summit is being held at a crucial time and requires an accurate assessment of the progress of the joint GCC efforts over the past 31 years.
"We also need to ask ourselves if the group has achieved objectives and aspirations of the people of the member states," Prince Salman said and added that the decision taken by the leaders to become a federation, during the 32nd Summit, will provide greater prosperity and security.
He stressed that this was all highlighted in a report submitted by a specialised committee, which has already presented its recommendations.
Kuwaiti Amir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah highlighted the global volatility and regional turmoil.
He stressed the importance of taking measures to overcome challenges, protect Gulf societies, achieve peoples' aspirations and bolster security and prosperity.
Shaikh Sabah called for humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians and urged Iran to reach a peaceful settlement with neighbours, including over the three Gulf islands dispute with the UAE.
The Amir said a donor conference for civilians caught up in the Syrian conflict will be held in January at the request of the United Nations.
The GCC Secretary General earlier said that "the summit is taking place under extremely sensitive and delicate circumstances and the impact of it (on Gulf states) must be studied".
His Majesty later hosted a dinner banquet at Sakhir Palace for the leaders and their delegations.
Present were His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander.
The leaders also held separate meetings on the sidelines of the summit and reviewed ways of promoting ties.
His Majesty earlier welcomed Shaikh Salman, the Amir of Kuwait, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Qatari Crown Prince Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Omani Deputy Premier and Minister of Cabinet Affairs Fahd bin Humoud Al Saleed on their arrival at Sakhir Airbase.
Present were HRH the Premier, HRH the Crown Prince, senior Ruling Family members, officials and officers of the BDF, Interior Ministry and the National Guard. – TradeArabia News Service