GCC Countries Sign Landmark Counterterrorism Agreement

Fadiya Al-Zaabi, Arab News/Asharq Al-Awsat
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2004-05-05 03:00

KUWAIT CITY, 5 May 2004 — GCC interior ministers yesterday signed a landmark counterterrorism pact calling for concerted efforts to combat terrorists.

Interior Minister Prince Naif said the “comprehensive pact” would help security officers in the member states to carry out their mission effectively.

The pact was signed by the ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates at the end of a consultative meeting here. Abdul Rahman Al-Atiyah, secretary-general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, described the accord as the “most important” since the GCC was formed in 1981.

Prince Naif said Saudi Arabia received full support from the GCC and Arab states in its efforts to stamp out terrorism.

He warned that the region could plunge into “complete chaos” as a result of “political and media campaigns.”

“Fast-paced events since Sept. 11, 2001 and the consequent political, practical and media campaigns have created new security equations in the region that could lead to complete chaos and an endless struggle,” he said.

Those campaigns exceeded all limits and were being used as a means “for accusations and plots, making the region face a different type of terror,” Prince Naif said without elaborating.

The Gulf states have made effective contributions in the global effort to combat terror “but regrettably, such efforts have gone unnoticed ... although our countries suffered the most from these attacks,” the prince said.

Kuwaiti Interior Minister Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who chaired the meeting, said the region faced “fierce terror attacks ... which require us to take decisive and collective measures.”

The anti-terror pact calls for boosting coordination among security agencies and better exchange of intelligence information.

Al-Atiyah said: “Terrorism has started to grow and its dangers increase day after day amid an absence of clear and frank visions to define its causes and nature.”

The state of lawlessness in Iraq was adversely affecting the security of the GCC states, which required taking security measures and boosting the monitoring of borders to stop infiltrators, Al-Atiyah said.

In an arrival statement on Monday, Prince Naif blamed the Al-Qaeda network for Saturday’s terrorist attacks in Yanbu that killed five Westerners and a National Guard officer.

“Yes, but we need time to confirm this,” Prince Naif said in response to a question whether Al-Qaeda was behind the attack carried out by four Saudi terrorists who were killed by security forces.

The attack came 10 days after a car bombing which devastated a security forces building in Riyadh, killing six people and wounding 145. He said Saudi security agencies prevented many potential terror attacks. “We have been able to foil dozens of attacks which could have been catastrophic,” he said. “We are responsible for protecting every person present in the Kingdom,” he added.

Prince Naif also issued a fresh warning to sympathizers of terrorists.

“We have said that those who sympathize or support them (terrorists) may in fact be committing a bigger crime... We hope that we will be able to uncover these cells very soon,” Prince Naif said.

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