GCC leaders conclude meetings in Riyadh

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, addressing the GCC summit, calls for moving from cooperation to unity

King Abdullah: We meet under challenges requiring vigilance and unity of ranks

Text of final communiqué and Riyadh Declaration

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and leaders and heads of delegations of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded the meetings of 32nd session of the GCC Supreme Council at Dir'iya Palace in Riyadh this week.

At the outset of the closing session, verses from the Holy Quran were recited.

The Secretary General of the GCC, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, then, read the final statement of the 32nd session and Riyadh Declaration.

Following is the text:

The GCC leaders welcomed and blessed the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the current chairman of the Supreme Council in his opening speech to the 32nd session of the Supreme Council held in Riyadh on 24 Muharram 1433 AH corresponding to December 19, 2011 on the transition from the stage of cooperation to the stage of the Union.

Believing in the importance of this proposal and its positive impacts on the peoples of the region and in line with the provisions of Article IV of the Statute of the Cooperation Council on coordination, integration and interdependence among Member States in all fields to reach their unity, and after the exchange of views on the proposal, the GCC leaders directed the Ministerial Council to form a specialized commission to be selected from Member States, 3 members for each State, that shall be entrusted to study the proposals in all their aspects in the light of the views exchanged between the leaders.

The Commission's meetings shall be held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat which provides all administrative, technical and financial capabilities.

The Member States shall assign their representatives no later than the first of February 2012. The Commission shall provide a preliminary report in March 2012 to the Ministerial Council in its first session in 2012 to be submitted to the GCC leaders.

The Commission shall submit its final recommendations to the 14th Consultative Meeting of the GCC leaders.

In the name of God the Merciful Praise be to God, prayer and peace be upon the seal of the Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and companions,

As their majesties and highnesses the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, who gathered at the 32nd session of the Supreme Council in Riyadh on 24-25 January 1433 H., are aware of the changes, challenges and threats facing the countries of the council, redrawing the situation in the region and targeting the links binding them, a situation requires cementing ranks, unifying views and mobilizing joint energies;

As they stress their full commitment to seriousness and credibility in order to achieve the objectives of the statute of the council, including coordination, integration and interdependence among member states in all fields until reaching their unity;

As they keep pace with the aspirations of their people toward accelerating the pace of joint action and establishing the concept of Arab and Islamic identity of the countries of the GCC and achieving greater coherence, unity, strength and well-being;

And as they declare their determination to promote and document the role of citizens of GCC countries in order to achieve a bright future meeting the aspirations of younger generations and developing their creative potential and capabilities,

They emphasize:

1 - Adoption of the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to move beyond the stage of cooperation to the stage of union so that the GCC countries form a single entity to achieve good and repel evil in response to the aspirations of the citizens of GCC countries and the challenges they face.

2 - speeding up the process of development and comprehensive reform inside their countries so as to achieve greater participation of all citizens, men and women, and open wide future prospects while maintaining security, stability, national cohesion and social welfare.

3 - Improving the domestic front, consolidating the national unity based on equality of all citizens, men and women, before the law and in rights and duties and confronting foreign attempts by troubled entities trying to export its internal crises through sedition, division and sectarian inciting.

4 - Hard work to attain the highest degrees of economic integration among GCC countries and overcome the obstacles that obstruct the march of achievement of the customs union, monetary union and common market of GCC states.

5 - Development of defense and security cooperation to ensure quickly and effectively and in a collective and unified manner confronting any danger or emergency.

6 - Activation of the diplomacy of the GCC to serve the national, Arab and Islamic causes, unified collective communication with all regional and international powers and safeguarding the common interests of the GCC countries in all international forums.

7 - Deepening the common belonging of the GCC youths, improving their identity and protecting their gains by intensifying communication, cooperation and convergence among them and employing educational, media, cultural, sports and scout activities for the service of this goal.

8 - The General Secretariat of the GCC countries shall follow up and report to the Supreme Council.

Issued in Riyadh, 25 Muharram 1433 AH corresponding to December 20, 2011 AD.

Then, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, delivered a speech in which he expressed thanks to and appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi people on the generous hospitality and warm welcome extended to the GCC leaders at all levels.

He also expressed thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his prudent chairmanship of Riyadh GCC Summit 2011 which led to very positive results of the Summit, particularly towards cooperation and unity.

Concluding his speech, the King of Bahrain extended invitation to the GCC leaders to attend the GCC Summit 2012 in his country.

In his capacity as President of the 32nd session of GCC Member States Supreme Council, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, declared the conclusion of the current session and its works, expressing thanks to all GCC leaders, and wishing them all luck in the next session which will be hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The closing session was attended by the members of the official delegations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz, Chief of Allegiance-Pledge Commission; Prince Miteb bin Abdulaziz; Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Defense; Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Dr. Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Khuwaiter, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet; Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance; and Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja, Minister of Culture and Information;

Also princes, ministers, other members of delegations of GCC leaders and heads of delegations, chiefs of diplomatic missions accredited to the Kingdom, and senior civil and military officials were also present.

The 32nd session of the Supreme Council for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States issued its final Communiquéأ©.

The communiquéأ© said that at the kind invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the GCC Supreme Council held its 32nd session in Riyadh city on Monday and Tuesday on Dec. 19 and 20, 2011 under the chairmanship of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the current chairman of the Supreme Council.

The session was also held in the presence of GCC leaders Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, who is also the Premier and the Ruler of Dubai; King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed of Sultanate of Oman; Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar; and Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, the communiquéأ© pointed out.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, GCC Secretary General.

In their final communiquéأ©, the GCC leaders congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on assuming the presidency of the current session of the Supreme Council, praising his speech's contents and his keenness to activate the march of cooperation among the GCC countries in all fields.

They also extended their sincere condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Saudi people on the death of the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The GCC leaders also extended their congratulations to Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the trust bestowed on him by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques selecting him as Crown Prince and appointing him Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Supreme Council affirmed full support for Bahrain and its leadership in all their actions to ensure the preservation of national unity, reform, development, safety, stability and security and to face any challenges or threats against it.

The Supreme Council approved study of areas of joint cooperation between the GCC and each of Jordan and Morocco, and formed a number of specialized cooperation committees in this matter to reach the desired partnership.

The council also decided to establish a GCC fund for development which will begin by providing support for development projects in Jordan and Morocco with an amount of 2.5 billion dollars for each state.

The Supreme Council charged the GCC finance ministers to study the statute and structures required for the establishment of the fund.

The council approved the personal identification as a proof of identity for GCC nationals in the public and private sectors in all member states.

The council approved the uniform rules for the inclusion of securities (stocks, bonds, instruments, and investment funds) in financial markets in the GCC States, and decided to apply them as a guide for two years in preparation for review and mandatory application.

The council adopted the regulations on animal welfare, practice of veterinary medical profession and veterinary products.

The council adopted the regulations of sources of surface water and ground water, sources of water desalination, and sewage treatment and reuse.

The council adopted the law of safety for ships with small cargo not covered by the international maritime treaties in GCC countries.

The council adopted agreement by the Committee on Financial and Economic Cooperation on unified customs tariff of the GCC countries (version 2012) taking effect as of January 2012.

The GCC Supreme Council confirmed in its final communiquéأ© the support of the GCC Member States for Qatar's hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, putting all their potential at its disposal to make this important sporting event a success.

Regarding the joint defense and cooperation, the Supreme Council was briefed on the results of the GCC Defense Committee's 10th session, held in Abu Dhabi in November 2011, on the various areas of military cooperation and joint defense. The summit endorsed the committee's decisions.

The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction over the achievements in the field of defense integration among the GCC countries, stressing the continuation of the practical steps of the procedures and studies to build a common defense system, realizing the collective security of the GCC countries. In its final communiquéأ©, it also stressed the importance of intensifying cooperation, especially regarding the exchange of information among security agencies in the GCC Member States.

On the fight against terrorism:

The Supreme Council denounced the attempt to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to the United States of America, supporting the measures and steps to be taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in this regard. The Supreme Council also called upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards these terrorist acts which threaten the stability of States and international peace and security. The Supreme Council welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly approving the decision made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to condemn terrorist attacks against persons enjoying diplomatic immune.

The Supreme Council also expressed its firm support for all regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism, and emphasizing at the same time the necessity of activating the decisions and statements by the GCC member states and regional and international organizations and conferences on combating terrorism.

The Supreme Council commended the launch of the United Nations Centre for Combating Terrorism in Vienna, crowning a proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Counter-Terrorism International Conference, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February 2005. The Supreme Council expressed hope that the Center will contribute to addressing and fighting the causes of this phenomenon in addition to strengthening international efforts in supporting stability of international peace and security.

The Supreme Council approved the amended system of the Advisory Board of the GCC Supreme Council.

Supporting the judicial authorities in GCC member states, the Supreme Council assigned public prosecutors and heads of the investigation and prosecution bodies in the GCC member states to propose appropriate mechanisms for achieving continued support provided by GCC member states for the bodies of public prosecution.

The Supreme Council considered the views of the Advisory Board of the Supreme Council regarding the issues that have been studied, namely:

1. The alternative energy and the development of its sources.

2. Unifying the efforts of GCC member states in the field of translation and taking care of Arabic language.

3. Global warming and climate change.

The Supreme Council decided to adopt these views, referring them to the relevant ministerial committees.

In its final communiquéأ©, the GCC Supreme Council pointed out to its brief on reports on the international relations of the GCC with its counterpart groupings and it welcomed the starting of the strategic dialogue with a number of friendly countries and signing the following memoranda of understanding:

- Strategic dialogue between GCC Member States and Pakistan, March 2011, Abu Dhabi.

- Strategic dialogue between GCC Member States and Australia, March 2011, Abu Dhabi.

- Strategic dialogue between GCC Member States and Russia, November 2011, Abu Dhabi.

It also welcomed the results of the 3rd Joint Ministerial Meeting of the strategic dialogue between the GCC and the People's Republic of China, held in Abu Dhabi in May 2011, and the results of the 21st joint ministerial meeting of the Joint GCC-European Council held in Abu Dhabi on April 18, 2011.

The GCC Supreme Council also was briefed on a report on the functioning of the GCC's program for the reconstruction of Gaza, and directed to rapidly implement the agreed upon projects and programs to serve the Palestinian people in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza.

The Supreme Council expressed deep concern about the continuation of the Iranian interferences in the internal affairs of the GCC countries and its endeavor to sow dissent and inflame sectarian strife among their citizens in violation of their sovereignty and independence.

The Supreme Council demanded Iran to desist from such policies and practices; fully comply with the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, international customs, laws and conventions, and non-interference in the internal affairs; solve disputes with peaceful means and direct dialogue; and not to use or threaten to use force so that security and stability of the region could prevail.

The Supreme Council followed up developments of the Iranian nuclear issue with great concern, stressing the importance of the commitment of Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Supreme Council reaffirmed its firm positions on the importance of adherence to the principles of international legitimacy, resolving conflicts by peaceful means, making the Middle East, including the Arabian Gulf, an area free of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, noting at the same time international efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear file crisis through peaceful means.

The council affirmed the right of countries in the region to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, under the International Atomic Energy Agency Convention and its supervision, calling for the application of these standards to all countries in the region, stressing the necessity of Israel's accession to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Weapons Nuclear and submission of all its nuclear facilities to international inspection.

The Supreme Council reviewed developments in the Palestinian arena and stressed that comprehensive, just and lasting peace can only be achieved through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 4th of June 1967 parallel with Eastern Al-Quds as its capital.

The Supreme Council demanded the international community to take a decisive stand to coerce Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied Arab territories to the 4th of June, 1967 parallel in Palestine, the occupied Syrian Arab Golan Heights, and the still-occupied southern Lebanon, and to respect international resolutions and laws in this regard.

The Supreme Council condemned the decision by the Israeli authorities to build housing units in Eastern Al-Quds and the West Bank, and construct a road to link the settlements with occupied Al-Quds in order to isolate the holy city from its Palestinian surroundings and change its demographic nature.

The Supreme Council considered this act as null and void in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, stressing that Eastern Al-Quds is a red line that cannot be approached. It stressed that these practices are a challenge to the will of the international community and reveal the hidden Israeli intentions that prove its non-seriousness, and disrespect for efforts being exerted to achieve peace.

The Supreme Council valued efforts by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which resulted in the decision accepting the State of Palestine as full member of the organization, considering this step as serving the international law, and enhancing the chances for peace.

The Supreme Council expressed its support for the State of Palestine's request for admission as member of the United Nations, considering this step as a victory for right, justice, law and international legitimacy, and as a support for the chances of success of negotiations.

The Supreme Council appreciated the efforts made by the Arab League Foreign Ministers Council regarding the situation in Syria, praising the Arab peace initiative adopted by the Arab League Council during its extraordinary session on 28/8/2011 as well as the decisions issued by the Arab League in this regard.

The Supreme Council commended the tireless efforts made by the ministerial follow-up committee on the situation in Syria as well as the efforts and decisions made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The Supreme Council called upon the Syrian government to carry out all terms of the Arab initiative and to implement the Arab League Observer Mission Protocol which was signed in Cairo on 19/12/2011 between the Government of Syria and the Arab League.

The Supreme Council demanded the Syrian government to immediately stop the killing machine, put an end to bloodshed, remove any form of armed manifestations, and release detainees, as a first step to start implementing the Protocol and to protect the Syrian people, achieve their aspirations and maintain the security, unity and stability of Syria.

The Supreme Council reiterated its full support for the security, stability and national unity of Lebanon, welcoming Lebanon's payment of its share in the financing of the International Tribunal for the assassination of former President Rafik Al-Hariri.

The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the position of the State of Kuwait on the establishment of the port of Mubarak the Great as being constructed on the territory of Kuwait, within its territorial waters and on borders drawn in accordance with the UN resolutions.

The Supreme Council expressed confidence that Iraq's implementation of its international obligations towards Kuwait will enhance the trust between the two countries and will strengthen the relations between them.

The Supreme Council reiterated its firm stances towards Iraq which are represented in the respect of Iraq's independence and territorial integrity as well as the non-interference in Iraq's internal affairs in order to avoid the division of Iraq and maintain its Arab and Islamic identity.

The Supreme Council hoped that Iraq will consider the fraternal relations it shares with the GCC member states, by not interfering in the internal affairs of GCC member states in addition to stopping media campaigns that do not serve the development and advancement of the relations between the two sides.

The Supreme Council called on all parties and political components in Iraq to shoulder their responsibilities towards building a unified, secure, stable and prosperous Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

The Supreme Council stressed the need for Iraq to complete the implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions, including the completion of maintaining border markers in implementation of resolution No. 833 as well as the completion of compensating Iraqi farmers in implementation of resolution No. 899.

The Supreme Council called on Iraq to accelerate the implementation of these issues, to identify the remaining prisoners and missing citizens of the State of Kuwait and citizens of other countries, and to return the properties and national archives to the State of Kuwait.

The Supreme Council urged the United Nations and other relevant bodies to continue their efforts to end these commitments.

The Supreme Council hailed the signing by Yemeni parties of the GCC-sponsored initiative and its protocol in Riyadh, and welcomed the formation of National Reconciliation Government in Yemen, calling on all brothers in Yemen to sincerely and honestly implement all items included in the initiative in order to save Yemen's unity, security and stability, a fact which will realize the aspirations of the fraternal Yemeni people.

The Supreme Council confirmed supporting the process of development in Yemen, consolidate frameworks of cooperation between the GCC and Yemen and to incorporate Yemen's economy in the GCC economy.

The Supreme Council welcomed the formation of a transitional government in sisterly Libya, expressing confidence in the capability of the fraternal Libyan people to build a modern state where rule of law would prevail and that the country would entertain security, stability and prosperity.

The Supreme Council congratulated President Muncef Al-Marzouqi on being elected as President of Tunisia by the constituent assembly, wishing Tunisia and its people every security, progress and prosperity.

The Supreme Council also welcomed the accomplishing of the first and second stages of elections for the People's Assembly in fraternal Egypt, expressing hope that all efforts will synergize to achieve aspirations of the fraternal Egyptian people towards security, welfare and development.

The Supreme Council lauded the patronage of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, for Peace Accords in Darfur, Sudan, signed in Doha, July 2011, which approved Doha Peace Document in Darfur, May 2011, as basis for a comprehensive and peaceful settlement in the province, wishing that this would lead to achieve security, stability and development in fraternal Sudan.

Finally, the communiquéأ© expressed the Supreme Council's utmost appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Chairman of the current session of the supreme Council, the Saudi government and the people of Saudi for the welcoming hospitality accorded to the guests of the summit, and the sincerely expressed fraternal feelings accorded to his brothers, their majesties and highnesses the leaders of GCC member states.

Their majesties and highnesses the leaders of GCC members states, welcomed the generous invitation by His Majesty King Hamad bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to host their 33rd session of the Supreme Council of the GCC member states in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in 2012.

Issued in Riyadh, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 25, Muharram, 1433H, corresponding to December 20, 2011.