HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has on Tuesday night opened the 35th session of GCC Supreme Council at Sheraton hotel in Doha.
Leaders of GCC states take part in the summit with the United Arab Emirates' delegation led by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Kingdom of Bahrain's delegation led by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's delegation led by Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense HH Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud; the Sultanate of Oman's delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers HH Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said; and the State of Kuwait's delegation led by HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
HH Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani attended the opening session as well as HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani, personal representative of HH the Emir.
HE Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani also attended the session along with HE Advisory Council chairman, a group of Their Excellences Sheikhs and ministers, HE GCC secretary general and his assistants, members of the GCC consultative board, accredited ambassadors to the State of Qatar, and media and press personnel.
HH the Emir then delivered a speech during the opening session in which he started by expressing his appreciation for the role HH Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah for his sincere efforts during Kuwait's presidency of the previous session, which had a major role in encouraging joint work between GCC members.
HH the Emir expressed his gratitude to HE secretary general of the GCC as well all the staff in the secretariat for their efforts in bolstering the role of the council.
HH the Emir then said that today's summit is held on the backdrop of very complicated and delicate international and regional circumstances, which puts further responsibility on the leaders to enhance joint work in line with the aspiration of the people of the GCC.
HH expressed his hope "that this summit will set the foundation for a new takeoff in Gulf relations through strengthening the spirit of fraternity and solidarity". HH the Emir then noted that the uncertainty characterizing the current global and economic context, in addition to the deep-rooted political and economic transformations the world is witnessing call on the GCC members to work towards economic and development integration. His Highness then highlighted that initiative of HH Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which calls for Gulf Union and eventually an Arab Union, will remain a "lofty goal". However, HH the Emir maintained that believing in that goal would require gradual steps towards economic integration "as well as social and cultural relations among our peoples that would eventually lead to achieving our common goals and interests", HH added.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said that the recent experiences "have taught us not to rush to convert disagreement in political viewpoints and assessing a political situation, which may arise even among the leaders, into differences that would affect sectors such as economy, society, media and others".
HH the Emir added that if the mechanisms and institutions of cooperation and collaboration failed to continue functioning throughout the stages of difference of opinion, then that means "we have not succeeded yet in establishing a strong foundation for this organization". "If the fraternal relations of our peoples haven't been taken for granted even during the phases of crises, this means that the GCC remains an elitist body. There are things which are to be taken for granted and must not be questionable at any time in terms of the relations among the Gulf Cooperation Council's states and peoples", HH said.
HH the Emir stressed that only practice sets the common above the disagreed, and raise cooperation above dispute could turn GCC into a real entity and give substance to the saying: the Council is the effective Arab organization on the regional and international arena. "Then, we may hope that this will serve as a paradigm for other Arab frameworks", said HH the Emir.
"In the face of challenges and risks surrounding us from all sides we must not get caught up in marginal disputes over details. It is high time that the Cooperation Council defines its role and position on the political map of the region on the basis of the strategic position of its countries as well as their potentials and common interests because the great powers do neither wait, nor they listen to moral appeals. It seems that they only deal in the language of interests, and with the one who proves his strength on the ground in the region", said HH the Emir.
HH the Emir then discussed Israel's aggression and terror in the Palestinian territories, saying that Israel's illegal settlement policies, attacks on the sanctity of Al Aqsa mosque and changing the identity of Jerusalem "contradict the international norms in their simplest sense". HH added that such aggression charges Arab countries and the international community with assuming their responsibility towards Palestine.
HH warned that Israel's continuing violations of human rights and the persecution of Palestinians through its apartheid policy will have grave consequences on the region, turning the-two state solution, which is accepted by the international community into an "unviable slogan". HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani then stressed that the Arab and Islamic worlds should take a serious and strong stand to defend the sanctities of Islam in Jerusalem and provide further support to the people of Palestine.
HH the Emir then moved to describe the international community's silence against Israel's aggression as "a great crime against humanity". His Highness called on the international community as a result to comply with the peace efforts and reach a just and comprehensive settlement based on the international legitimacy resolutions. This would end the suffering of the Palestinian people and prevent Israel from prejudicing the status of East Jerusalem, HH the Emir added.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani highlighted that the situation in Syria is getting more tragic for its disaster-stricken people, explaining that among the main reasons of the situation's deterioration is "the absence of a clear vision on the part of the influential forces in the international community to resolve this crisis, and the malfunctioning of the international order manifested by the double standards of the international legitimacy". "The Security Council has miserably failed to protect civilians from war crimes and genocide, committed by the Syrian regime who insists on rejecting the political solution and adopting the comprehensive military solution", HH the Emir added.
HH the Emir emphasized support for a political solution to stem the Syrian bloodshed, fulfill the Syrian people's demands for change, security and stability by providing sufficient guarantees that secure their rights and achieve their fair demands as well as abide by the integrity of the Syrian land and people.
"We also confirm that we are backing the Syrian people's right to defend themselves as long as the political solution is not available and as long as the great powers marginalize the issue of the people prioritizing their other interests", HH said, calling upon the international community once again for an international and regional concordance and on the Security Council to "take the necessary resolution to stop the acts of killing and crimes against humanity committed by the regime, and to achieve a political solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people".
"The current situations in many sisterly Arab countries such as Libya, Yemen and Iraq necessitate the need for combined regional and international efforts to help those countries surpass the current circumstances", said HH the Emir, adding: "We hope that the governments and political forces in those countries will conform to national reconciliations that can put an end to the acts of violence and address the aspirations of the people for security and stability".
HH the Emir stressed that such reconciliation requires a "realistic and rational approach that puts the national interest above partial interests without excluding any of the social and political components", while yet rejecting all forms of fanaticism that fragment political entities.
HH the Emir then turned to the threat terrorism is posing to the Arab World and said that the phenomena is a "serious challenge" to stability, security and development, calling on the international community to work collectively to confront terrorism and eradicate terrorism's political, social, and economic causes. HH the Emir then stressed that "violence, persecution, repression and blocking the prospects of hope breeds violence".
HH said that there is no other option but to confront terrorism, adding that countries must exert the effort to "spare Arab societies the scourge of extremism and terrorism by means of protection before remedy". HH then moved to discuss security threats to the GCC region and said that GCC leaders welcomed the 5 +1 agreement concerning Iran's nuclear program. HH also stressed that the State of Qatar is keen on resolving differences through peaceful means and ensuring that the Middle East is free of weapons of mass destruction. HH the Emir also highlighted Qatar's emphasis on maintaining cooperation and good neighborly relations with friendly countries outside the GCC.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim concluded his remarks by welcoming the leaders to Doha and wishing that the summit will be culminated in success.
Their Highnesses and Majesties leaders of the GCC and members of delegations honored HH Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah after the United Nations named him a "Humanitarian Leader" and the State of Kuwait a "Humanitarian Center".
On his part, HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stressed, in a speech before the 35th Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), that the "legitimate" concern and "unjustified" fear on the common march of the GCC member countries "compel us to work tirelessly to maintain our achievements amidst critical regional and international circumstances, which justified our concern". HH the Emir of Kuwait expressed his thanks to his brother HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the State of Qatar and the Qatari people for the warm welcome, generous hospitality and outstanding preparation for this important meeting, which will be an important addition to the GCC joint work.
Today's summit is being held in Qatar a year after the 34th session was held in Kuwait, HH Sheikh Sabah said, adding "we have lived through concern and fear on the path of our GCC blessed path, which pushed us forward to work hard to keep this path and maintain its achievements under extremely accurate regional and international conditions, which made our concern legitimate and our fear justified and was reflected on the progress of our joint march which faced severe challenges that were about to sweep our GCC entity, which now represents the hope and promise for the people of the GCC countries".
"We believe that differences in points of view is normal and necessary, from which we should not panic, and we should not reach the level of dispute and boycott, which will undoubtedly weaken us and undermine our ability to maintaining our achievements". HH the Emir of Kuwait said the fundamentals of unity that combined the six GCC countries outmatched the "fundamentals of boycott", adding that dialogue would also help the GCC countries to overcome "any dispute ... (towards) our common destiny". He said turning the GCC into a union was the goal and hope of "the GCC countries, and it is in harmony with our statute and an activation of the resolutions of our common action. "We should work on creating a solid foundation to pave the way for the union, a foundation that means that we overcome our differences and protect our experience", he said.
HH the Emir of Kuwait therefore proposed formation of a high-level committee consisting of experts and specialists, tasked with thoroughly studying the union issue and refer their recommendations to the foreign ministers then to the leaders.
Sheikh Sabah said the GCC was also facing key challenges amidst drop of oil prices "which have been influencing our income and development programs". He called for further strengthening of common economies in order to counter these challenges and to enable "us to confront any negative developments harming our economies". On Syria, HH the Emir of Kuwait regretted the international community's failure to stop the killing and destruction in Syria, as well as displacement of millions of people in and outside the countries, in addition to threatening the regional and international peace and security.
"We are before a historic, moral, humanitarian and legal responsibility that compel us to double the efforts with the international community to put an end to this humanitarian crisis, and preserving international peace and security", HH Sheikh Sabah added.
On the issue of the United Arab Emirates' Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa islands, HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, called on "the friendly Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or international arbitration". With regards to the Palestinian Cause, HH Sheikh Sabah pointed out that despite the strenuous efforts being made to revive the stalled Middle East peace process, the Israeli intransigence and its insistence to continue building settlements, sacrilege and repeated attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to its refusal to comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy have prevented any progress and kept the Palestinian issue unresolved.
He emphasized the firm position renouncing terrorism and extremism in all its forms, manifestations or motives, and fully complying with all international resolutions issued to address this serious phenomenon, stressing the importance of increasing international efforts to counter terrorism.
HH the Kuwaiti Emir said that his country has been closely following the developments in Yemen, explaining that the current situation is a result of one Party's lack of commitment to the peace and partnership agreement that has undermined the peace and stability opportunities and hindered the implementation of the Gulf initiative, he added.
On the Iranian Nuclear program, the Emir of Kuwait pointed out that the negotiations are still running without reaching a final agreement to reassure the world on the nature of the program and enable International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct control over Iranian reactors. In this context, he hailed the efforts of the Sultanate of Oman in reaching the desired agreement, urging Iran to show full commitment to cooperation with the international community, particularly IAEA and to apply the highest measures of safety in its nuclear installations.
The Emir of Kuwait expressed concern over the situation in Libya and the armed conflict between the parties, calling an immediate cessation of violence and expediting national reconciliation through dialogue. He extended greetings to the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain and the State Qatar, on their National Days.
HH Sheikh Sabah congratulated Bahrain on the success of the parliamentary and municipal elections that took place recently, and witnessed large popular participation. He also congratulated the Qatari Football Team on winning the title of the 22nd GCC Football cup praising their performance. He, as well, congratulated Saudi Arabia on their success in organizing the tournament.
Concluding his speech, The Emir of Kuwait extended thanks to his brother HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and to the Qatari government and people. He also extended thanks to HE the GCC Secretary General and his assistants for their tireless efforts in following the implementation of the previous session and the preparation for this one.
In his speech before the 35th GCC summit, the GCC Secretary General Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani extended sincere congratulations and appreciation to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim in Hamad Al-Thani, the chairman of the current session of Supreme Council of the GCC leaders that kicked off today in Doha.
He said that he was confident that the presidency of Qatar, under the wise directives and leadership of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to the current session would have great impact in enhancing the sublime goals sought by the GCC leaders and peoples.
Al Zayani also extended his thanks to the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his sincere efforts during his presidency of the 34th session, which had a profound impact in promoting the process of work and collaboration within the Gulf system. He also congratulated the Emir of Kuwait on his designation as a Global Humanitarian Leader by the United Nations.
He also conveyed during the summit the GCC citizens' appreciation to the outcomes of GCC summit held in Riyadh last November that contributed to realizing further progress and unity of GCC member states.
The Supreme Council's resolutions and directives on joint strategic projects and on consolidating integration in all fields as well as on expanding areas of cooperation and coordination between the GCC countries are being implemented and will be followed up by the Ministerial Council and ministerial committees to achieve more progress for the benefit of the GCC citizens and promote the GCC joint work, Al Zayani said.
The GCC Secretary General said that Doha Summit's agenda was full of topics pertaining to GCC joint work in various fields, adding that the agenda was the outcome of the hard work done by the ministerial councils, committees and bodies concerned. Many decisions and constructive recommendations were reached as a result of a full year of follow-up work through these various ministerial committees and work teams, he said. Al Zayani said that the Ministerial Council referred a set of recommendations to the Supreme Council of the GCC leaders for approval.
HH the Emir of Kuwait expressed his appreciation and thanks to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the chairman of the current session of the GCC Supreme Council and Their Majesties and Highnesses of the GCC Leaders for their honoring after he had been named as UN humanitarian leader .
HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said that his honoring as UN humanitarian leader was an honor for the Gulf Cooperation Council as a whole, leaders and people.
Addressing heads-of-state at the GCC Summit in Doha on Tuesday, he applauded the efforts on humanitarianism of all six nations, moments after having been honored by the remaining five leaders at the summit for the unprecedented title of humanitarian leader, he was granted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
He said that these efforts are due to the commitment of GCC states to carrying out good deeds, and coming to the aid of those in need and affected by disaster, conflict or natural catastrophe. "Our joys, emotions and delights are one", he stated, expressing "renewed appreciation" for the "warm brotherly gesture" and development and prosperity for the nations.
Two Qatari youth have delivered an opening speech before the summit, in which they welcomed Their Highnesses and Majesties leaders of the GCC States in their second homeland the State of Qatar, wishing success to the summit in its quest to achieve the ambitions and aspirations of the GCC peoples.
On behalf of the GCC youth, Hamad Salem Mjighir and Buthaina Mullah extended congratulations to HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the occasion of his honoring by the United Nations as UN humanitarian leader and naming the State of Kuwait as a 'global humanitarian hub,' saying this is an honoring for the all the youth of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The two youth expressed appreciation for the efforts being exerted by Their Highnesses and Majesties leaders of the GCC States and their great keenness to maintain the GCC as the "Gulf House" enjoying full unity and cohesion, expressing their appreciation for their keenness on developing the GCC countries to be always on top and their appreciation for the joint cooperation to support the nation's issues.
They emphasized the role played by youth in the construction and development process, pointing out that statistics show that youth account 60% of the GCC population, noting that young people influence public opinion.
They praised Their Highnesses and Majesties leaders of the GCC States' keenness to empower young people to unlock their capabilities and highlight their innovations through the GCC workshops organized by the GCC General-Secretariat, during which participants were briefed on the young peoples’ views with regard to the issues relating to their present and future.
They went on saying that as young people we are aware of the challenges and the difficult reality in which we live, thus we recognize that these challenges urge us to exert further efforts, expressing pride for the unity of the GCC peoples.
They stressed the importance of empowering youth as the pillar of civilization and development and as part of the present and the future, expressing hope that the Summit’s resolutions will be up to the level of challenges and the aspirations of the GCC peoples. (END)