RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers held the 155th ministerial meeting on Wednesday at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the GCC in Riyadh, discussing ways to strengthen regional security and stability.
The meeting comes as a follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the GCC presided over by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in December.
The session was chaired by Sayyed Badr Al-Busaidi, Oman’s minister of foreign affairs, in the presence of GCC Secretary General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi.
The session was attended by UAE Minister of State Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Qatar Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The meeting began with a review of recent topics, including the council’s affirmation of the decisions Supreme Council at its 43rd session in December 2022 on relations with Iran.
The ministerial council welcomed the agreement reached by Saudi Arabia and Iran to establish diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies in Beijing at the initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The council also stressed the importance of Iran’s commitment not to exceed the rate of uranium enrichment required for peaceful uses.
As a part of the meeting, the ministerial council extended its sympathy to the victims of the Turkiye and Syria earthquake, and affirmed its support and solidarity with the people of both countries.
The council condemned the terrorist operations against Iraq, targeting civilians and Iraqi security forces. The council also affirmed the GCC’s support of Iraq in the fight against terrorism.
The council stressed its solidarity with the countries fighting all terrorist organizations to strengthen security and stability in their lands, including Somalia and Afghanistan. The council condemned terrorist acts that target civilians and civilian facilities, including schools, places of worship, and hospitals in Afghanistan.
The council also condemned the continued foreign support for terrorist groups Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and others, threatening Arab national security in the region.
The ministerial council expressed the GCC’s firm support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, security, and stability. Stressing the importance of implementing comprehensive structural reforms ensures Lebanon overcomes its political and economic crisis.
One of the topics discussed during the meeting included the council’s firm positions on the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and Palestinian territories occupied since June 1967.
The ministerial council condemned the escalation of repeated Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, and called on the international community to intervene in the targeting of the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem.
The council commended the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, as an affirmation of GCC countries’ keenness to achieve security, stability, and development for the Yemeni people.
The council also commended Saudi Arabia on the previous grants to Yemen totaling $4.2 billion and the recent deposit of $1 billion to the Central Bank of Yemen to provide food aid.
The council also called on the Houthis to respond to the invitation made by the Presidential Leadership Council, to negotiate under the supervision of the UN to reach a political solution.
The council also commended the UAE’s announcement of recovery and rehabilitation projects aiding in healthcare, renewable energy and agriculture sectors for 2023, totalling $325 million.
Qatar was also commended on its pledge to establish 10 mobile schools in Yemen.
Kuwait also announced the expansion of its youth entrepreneurship and financial inclusion project to provide three additional grants worth $5 million through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
The ministerial council also stressed the importance of continuing all efforts to support the Syrian people, welcoming Security Council Resolution No. 2642 of Jan. 9, 2023, extending the delivery of UN humanitarian aid across the border from Turkiye to Syria until the end of June 2023.
On the sidelines of the 155th ministerial council meeting, Prince Faisal met with the Kuwaiti minister of foreign affairs to review and develop relations.
The ministerial meeting is held every three months, focusing on the output of ministerial committees that are established after an annual summit.