Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
GCC seeking new regional security plan
New York, October 1, 2013
The GCC seeks to consolidate a new concept of regional security emphasising the geopolitical dimension of the region, Bahrain's Foreign Minister said as he delivered a key address at the United Nations (UN) yesterday.
Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa outlined the strategy as he addressed world leaders at the 68th session of the General Assembly in New York, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
He said "orderly advancement towards progress and development" required making use of developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as well as addressing issues relating to security, the environment, natural resources and population.
The new concept of regional safety would take into account security as it relates to humanitarian needs, food, water and the existing coalitions linking it to friendly countries through a number of strategic and historic agreements, he said.
"Emphasis will be placed on human security, food and water security, enhancing dialogue and promoting the culture of peace, friendship and mutual respect," he added.
He outlined the three key pillars of that strategy as being regional GCC partnerships; upholding the principles of good neighbourliness (including non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, abiding by international law and its instruments, and peaceful co-existence) and realising the aspirations of the people.
"Foremost among these is the raising the standards of living, peace and security, respect for human rights through pluralism, democracy and participation of all in a continued dialogue that takes into account the cultural values of the society and the stages of political, economic, social and cultural developments of its peoples," he said.
The minister pledged Bahrain would continue to engage national and international organisations in an ongoing dialogue, but said this process must take place "in a spirit of co-operation, not confrontation".
He added Bahrain's primary goal was "sparing humanity from the scourges of war, conflicts and disasters".
As such, Shaikh Khalid called for the establishment of a zone free of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear weapons, in the Middle East.
"We reiterate here the necessity of convening the international conference on establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, which had initially been foreseen to be held in 2012 in accordance with the resolution of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference of May 2010," he said.
"We reaffirm our utter rejection of terrorism, extremism and violence in all their manifestations and forms, irrespective of their reasons, justifications or sources, along with our condemnation of all terrorist acts threatening regional peace and stability.
"We also note the need to inscribe organisations such as the Lebanese Hezbollah on the international list of terrorist organisations in view of their criminal acts aimed at terrorising peaceful civilians and generating instability and chaos."
Meanwhile, he called for Iran to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.
"As we face this challenge, we look forward to a new language, a positive discourse and tangible initiatives from the Islamic Republic of Iran, capable of ending tensions and instability in the region and contributing to confidence building, co-operation and the establishment of friendly relations based on good neighborliness and mutual interests," he said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister highlighted the need to finally find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the "need to reach a just, permanent and comprehensive solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people".
"To face this challenge, we have the benefit of an important opportunity: the Arab Peace Initiative launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz, and endorsed by the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002," he said.
"We still adhere to that initiative as an important opportunity for peace, security and a bright future for the Palestinian and Israeli people on the basis of co-existence, co-operation and good neighborliness between the Arab states and Israel."
He offered Bahrain's full backing to efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to resume the peace process.
"We look forward to a halt to the oppression of Palestinians, the lifting of the blockade of Gaza and an end to the building of settlements so as to provide an environment conducive to the success of these good offices," he said.
"We welcome the position taken by the European Union by refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israeli settlements that occupies Palestinian territory and suspending any transaction with them."
During his speech, Shaikh Khalid also condemned all forms of terrorism, including a terrorist attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which he described as an "act of cowardice".
He also outlined Bahrain's commitment to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 "as a top priority", while stating the country stood "side by side" with Egypt "in its efforts to achieve stability and security".
"We also reiterate our principled position of unwavering solidarity with the sisterly kingdom of Morocco with regard to its territorial integrity and the solution of the Western Sahara problem in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions," he said. – TradeArabia News Service