All for one, one for all: Gulf leaders stress unity at Riyadh summit

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking at the conclusion of the 42nd GCC Summit. (SPA)
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking at the conclusion of the 42nd GCC Summit. (SPA)
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Updated 15 December 2021

All for one, one for all: Gulf leaders stress unity at Riyadh summit

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking at the conclusion of the 42nd GCC Summit. (SPA)
  • Security is key issue on agenda, with challenges from Iran to Yemen

RIYADH: Gulf state leaders called on Tuesday for greater regional economic and defense integration as the annual GCC summit in Riyadh came to a close.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who chaired the meeting, stressed the importance of Gulf unity in the face of security challenges. “We continue to make all efforts to enhance security in the region,” he said.

“We laud the commitment and solidarity that led to the success of the outputs of the AlUla declaration. We look forward to building a prosperous economy that depends on diversifying sources of income and keeping pace with developments in all fields.”

The GCC had achieved a great deal since it was established in 1981, the crown prince said. “We look forward to achieving more.”

Regional security was a key item on the summit agenda, including Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and challenges in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, and Libya. “Saudi Arabia stresses the importance of dealing seriously with the Iranian nuclear issue. We stress the importance of Iraq’s stability, and the importance of reaching a political solution in Yemen,” the crown prince said.

After the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom was closely following the progress of talks in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear program. “Iran's tough stance in Vienna is worrying,” he said. “The Gulf states face the biggest threat from Iran’s nuclear program. We want a long and comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. We want to have a normal relationship with Iran, and that depends on them.”

In a final communique, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf called for teamwork to face regional challenges, and stressed the importance of strengthening the role of women and young people.

“The leaders agreed on principles and policies to develop strategic cooperation and economic and development integration among the GCC states,” Al-Hajraf said.

The communique emphasized the issue of joint defense, pointing out that for GCC member states, “any attack on any of them is an attack on all, and any danger that threatens one of them is a threat to all.”

Leaders discussed the implementation of King Salman’s vision for Gulf integration. “The leaders emphasized the importance of accurate, complete and continuous implementation of King Salman’s vision, completing the elements of economic unity and joint defense and security systems, coordinating their positions in a way that enhances the solidarity and stability of the GCC states, preserves their interests, and avoids regional and international conflicts,” Al-Hajraf said.

The communique emphasized the issue of joint defense, pointing out that for GCC member states, “any attack on any of them is an attack on all, and any danger that threatens one of them is a threat to all.”

The leaders also stressed the importance of coordinating and integrating the foreign policies of member states “to crystallize a unified and effective foreign policy that serves the aspirations of the people of the Gulf states and preserves their interests and gains.”

Al-Hajraf said the leaders also confirmed the importance of coordinating plans to achieve sustainability, deal with climate change and its effects, and applying the circular carbon economy approach launched by the Kingdom during its presidency of the G20.

“The leaders stressed the importance of following up on the achievement of the economic vision of the GCC to achieve economic diversification and benefit from economic potential,” he said.

They also stressed the need to curb Hezbollah’s terrorist activities, and urged Lebanon to implement political reforms and extend its sovereignty over its institutions.

Visiting national delegations at the summit were led by King Hamad of Bahrain, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani, Sheikh Fahd Al-Said of Oman, Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.


Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction
Updated 25 May 2022

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

CAIRO: The head of the Egypt-based Arab Organization for Industrialization said it will “participate with its various companies and factories in the initiative to rebuild Libya.”

Abdel Moneim Al-Terras added: “The Egyptian state believes in the necessity of carrying out its national duty to support the brothers in Libya.”

He said: “Delegates from the Egyptian government had conducted exploratory visits in Libya … to determine the priority sectors in which Egyptian companies can work, as part of the reconstruction plans.”

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ali Faraj Al-Qatrani said reconstruction is a priority for his government, which will support all companies wishing to take part.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers signed a cooperation protocol with the Libyan General Syndicate of Engineering Professions.

Tarek Al-Nabarawy, chairman of the Egyptian syndicate, said the protocol includes exchanging experiences.


Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector
Updated 25 May 2022

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

CAIRO: Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Egypt’s acting minister of health and population, discussed with his Qatari counterpart Hanan Mohamed Al-Kuwari cooperation between the two countries in the health sector.

The meeting was among others held by Abdel Ghaffar on the sidelines of the 75th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

He and Al-Kuwari discussed investment opportunities in Egypt’s health sector through the construction of advanced health facilities on par with international standards, as well as developing and raising the efficiency of medical units, centers and hospitals. They also reviewed achievements in Egypt’s health sector.

Abdel Ghaffar stressed the importance of developing a plan to raise the efficiency of medical cadres working in the health sector in Egypt and Qatar, as well as providing training programs for nursing teams and radiology technicians. He invited Al-Kuwari to visit Egyptian health facilities.


Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict
Updated 25 May 2022

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict
  • Mevlut Cavusoglu: Two countries agreed to ‘re-energize’ relations in many areas

ISTANBUL: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that the normalization of ties between Turkey and Israel will have a “positive impact” for a “peaceful” resolution to the Palestinian conflict.
In a news conference after talks with his Israeli counterpart, Cavusoglu said the two countries agreed to “re-energise” relations in many areas, including resuming talks on civil aviation.


76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia
Updated 25 May 2022

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

TUNIS: Seventy six people were missing after a crowded boat of migrants sank off Tunisia on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said, as the numbers risking the dangerous crossing to Europe increase.
The IOM said 24 people had been rescued from the boat, which had departed from the beaches of Zawara in Libya and sank off the coast of Sfax.
In recent months, dozens of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya toward Italy.
Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years.


Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks

Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks
Updated 25 May 2022

Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks

Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks
  • Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week
  • Turkey’s objections have dampened Stockholm’s and Helsinki’s hopes for their quick membership

ANKARA: Delegations from Sweden and Finland were scheduled on Wednesday to hold talks in Ankara with senior Turkish officials in an effort to overcome Turkey’s objections to their historic bids to join the NATO alliance.
Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week in a move that marks one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine — and which could rewrite Europe’s security map.
Turkey has said it opposes the two Nordic countries’ membership in the military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden’s — and a to a lesser extent Finland’s — perceived support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other entities that Turkey views as a security threat. It also accuses the two of imposing arms exports restrictions on Turkey and refusing to extradite suspected “terrorists.”
Turkey’s objections have dampened Stockholm’s and Helsinki’s hopes for their quick membership in NATO amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and puts the trans-Atlantic alliance’s credibility at stake. All 30 NATO members must agree to admit new members.
The Swedish and Finnish delegations are poised to take up Turkey’s grievances with Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. The Swedish delegation would be headed by state secretary Oscar Stenström while Jukka Salovaara, the foreign ministry undersecretary, would lead the Finnish delegation, Turkish officials have said.
The PKK, which is listed as a terror organization by several of Turkey’s allies, has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey, a conflict that has cost the lives of tens of thousands people.
Turkey this week listed five “concrete assurances” it is demanding from Sweden, including what it said was “termination of political support for terrorism,” an “elimination of the source of terrorism financing,” and the “cessation of arms support” to the banned PKK and a Syrian Kurdish militia group affiliated with it. The demands also called for the lifting of arms sanctions against Turkey and global cooperation against terrorism.
Turkey said that it has been requesting the extradition of Kurdish militants and other suspects since 2017, but hasn’t received a positive response from Stockholm. Among other things, Ankara claimed that Sweden had decided to provide $376 million to support the Kurdish militants in 2023 and that it had provided military equipment to them, including anti-tank weapons and drones.
Sweden has denied that it was providing any “financial assistance or military support” to Kurdish groups or entities in Syria.
“Sweden is a major humanitarian donor to the Syria crisis through global allocations to humanitarian actors,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
“Cooperation in northeastern Syria is carried out primarily through the United Nations and international organizations,” she said. “Sweden doesn’t provide targeted support to Syrian Kurds or to the political or military structures in northeastern Syria, but the population in these areas is, of course, taking part in these aid projects.”