37th GCC Summit issues final communiqué

A broad view of the 37th GCC Summit in Manama, Bahrain, on Wednesday. (BNA)
Updated 08 December 2016
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37th GCC Summit issues final communiqué

MANAMA: The 37th Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, held in Manama on Wednesday, issued its final communiqué stressing the significance of continuously propping up and beefing cooperation and integration among the GCC member states, leading up to the implementation of resolutions targeting full equal treatment among Gulf citizens in view of the joint market.
 
In a final communique issued after the summit, the GCC leaders said it is vital to share credit information as per a short-term plan and a comprehensive framework for a Gulf credit facilitation exchange mechanism.
 
They also agreed to build a GCC payments system, and entrust Gulf central banks to own, run and finance the plan by means of establishing an independent company. They approved an anti-fraud bill as a binding law, according to the concluding statement.
 
They further emphasized that the GCC member states have to commit to implementing a Gulf railway project, sending it to the economic and development committee for setting out a necessary mechanism in this regard.
 
It is also necessary to further promote and develop cooperation and coordination among the GCC member states in the military field, said the communique, while appreciating progress in the domain of mutual defensive cooperation in the face of various challenges and threats.
 
On terrorism, they reiterated their unshakeable position of rejection and condemnation of all forms and manifestations of terrorism, but emphasized that more efforts should be exerted to stop terror-financing sources and to fight attempts to distort the image of Islam.
 
In this regard, they sharply denounced recent explosions and bombings in Saudi Arabia as heinous crimes that have nothing to do with the tolerant religion of Islam or values and principles of humanity and ethics.
 
They reaffirmed their support to all regional and international efforts to fight Daesh and all other terrorist networks and organizations in Syria, Iraq and other regions.
 
On the recent US Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), the conferees condemned the law as a breach of the fixed principles of international law, mainly the principle of equality among the states.
 
They lashed out at the US act as a violation of the basics and principles of the relationship among the states and principle of sovereign immunity, calling on Washington to rethink this legislation due to its negative reflections on the relationship among the states.
 
However, they congratulated US President-elect Donald Trump, hoping that historic and strategic relations between the GCC member states and the US would be further promoted and cemented during Trump’s term of office.
 
They also vowed to work with him to ensure security, peace and stability in the region and the entire world.
 
They congratulated Antonio Guterres on having being elected as the new secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), reiterating support to UN efforts to maintain world security and stability, according to the communique.
 
Moreover, the GCC leaders voiced much satisfaction with fervent efforts exerted to push forward strategic partnerships of the GCC countries with Jordan and Morocco, reflecting fraternal close relations.
The leaders also blessed the recent resumption of free trade negotiations between the GCC and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
 
On meetings held in Manama between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May, the conferees highly commended the outcomes of GCC-UK talks which focused on the latest regional and international developments.
 
They hailed the strategic partnership between the GCC and UK, which reflected historical distinguished relations between both sides and set out frameworks of bilateral cooperation with a view to reaching closer ties in all fields.
 
On Palestine, the GCC leaders reiterated that total, just and everlasting peace could be reached in the Middle East region only when Israel withdraws from all Arab territories it occupied in 1967.
 
They reaffirmed support to an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in line with the Arab peace initiative and relevant international legitimacy resolutions, the concluding statement added.
 
They also voiced support to the French initiative, together with other Arab and international efforts, to find a solution to the Palestinian state and to hold an early Middle East peace conference.
 
The GCC leaders further called on the international community to put more pressure on Israel to end its occupation of all Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, and appreciated a recent UNESCO resolution recognizing Al-Aqsa Mosque as a purely Islamic site.
 
On the Iranian-occupied three islands of the UAE, they reiterated their rejection of the occupation of the three islands, and supported anew the UAE’s sovereignty over the islands as an integral part of this GCC member state.
 
In this regard, they called on Iran to positively respond to UAE efforts to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or the International Court of Justice (ICJ), while denouncing Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the GCC member states and the whole region.
 
They also urged Tehran to revise its policies in the region by means of honoring relevant international conventions and treaties, and stop harboring terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, on its soil.
 
They emphasized that Iran should abide by its nuclear agreement with the G5+1 in July 2015, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to apply an effective mechanism to verify the agreement is put in place.
 
Regarding Syria, the statement reiterated the GCC’s unwavering support to maintaining Syria’s unity, stability and territorial integrity, while condemning nonstop airstrikes by the aircraft of the Syrian regime and its allies on the Syrian city of Aleppo.
 
The GCC leaders renewed backing of all efforts exerted by UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, and vowed to continue work to ease out the sufferings of the Syrian people.
 
On Yemen, the conferees reaffirmed full support to Yemen’s unity, sovereignty and independence and rejected any attempt to interfere in its domestic affairs, according to the final communique.
 
They underscored the significance of finding a political solution to the Yemeni crisis in line with the Gulf Initiative and its Executive Mechanism, Output of the Comprehensive National Dialogue, Riyadh Conference and UNSC Resolution 2216.
 
In this context, they voiced much appreciation to Kuwait for hosting UN-facilitated peace negotiations among Yemeni political rivals, which began on April 21st and wound up on August 7th, 2016.
 
But, they condemned the formation of a new government by Yemen’s Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh as a serious blow to ongoing efforts to find a political solution to the Yemeni problem.
 
On Iraq, they renewed keenness on maintaining this Arab country’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, while vehemently rejecting interference in its internal affairs.
 
They voiced total support to the Iraqi government’s efforts to liberate Mosul from the grip of Daesh, emphasizing that IS-controlled Iraqi areas should be retaken only by Iraqi army and police forces.
 
However, they denounced crimes committed against civilians in the liberated areas on a sectarian basis, calling on the Iraqi government to live up to its responsibility by protecting civilians and ensuring a safe return of internally displaced persons.
 
Regarding Libya, the GCC leaders, according to the concluding statement issued after their summit in Manama, reiterated backing to UN efforts to ensure security and stability.


Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

Updated 21 November 2018
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Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

  • A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000
  • To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor

CAIRO: In an attempt to further boost its booming real estate sector and attract foreign investment, Egypt will grant residency permits to foreigners who invest at least $100,000 in the country’s property market.
The growth rate of Egypt’s property market stands at 133 percent in 2018. This has been fueled by strong demand for housing, along with the sporadic launch of residential construction projects.
The minimum investment required to obtain a residency permit is $100,000. A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000. The offer also applies to properties that are still under construction.
Khaled Abbas, the deputy minister of housing, said the procedures for the scheme are being set up in consultation with the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Administration.
To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor, and then signed by an authorized body, such the Urban Communities Authority, the Tourism Development Authority or the governorate in which the property is located. Bank statements must also be provided confirming that the money has been transferred from overseas. The passport office will then approve the period of residence.
Members of the House of Representatives welcomed the announcement as a positive move for Egypt and an incentive for foreign investment, which it is hoped will create jobs and economic opportunities.
Whether the public will be so keen remains to be seen.
“This might be a bit problematic,” said Aly Salem, a resident of Cairo. “The housing demand in Egypt is already high, with the surging youth population and more and more people looking to get married each year. Where will they stay, if foreigners start swooping in and acquiring both residency and a huge housing unit with just $100,000?”
Offering further details, Gen. Kamel Amer, the head of the Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said foreigners will not have any political rights for the first five years of residency and they will not be eligible to vote for 10 years. He also said spouses and children of investors will not be granted residency unless they live in Egypt.
Spain and Portugal have implemented similar programs in an attempt to boost their property markets. Previously, a foreigner had to live in Egypt for 10 consecutive years to be eligible for naturalization.
The new residency law is part of the efforts to repair the damage to Egypt’s economy caused by severe austerity measures imposed after the $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The cost and size of properties in Egypt, which are often large and lavish apartments, compare favorably to those in many other countries. Despite this, few Egyptians can afford to pay for a house upfront, but some private property developers are offering 10-year, interest-free installment plans.