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GCC and US discuss boosting Strategic Cooperation Forum’s role

(Wam) / 30 September 2012

The foreign ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held their second ministerial meeting within the framework of “Strategic Cooperation Forum between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the United States”.

UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the meeting.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs led the GCC’s delegation which included GCC Secretary-General Dr Abdulatif Al Zayani.

The meeting, held on the sidelines of the 67th United Nations General Assembly session in New York, reviewed the workflow of the “US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum” and ways to strengthen its role through enhancing and boosting the strategic cooperation relations between the two sides and the latest developments in the region and issues of common concern.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the forum, the ministers condemned the anti-Islam film and stressed their rejection of all attempts aiming at defamation of religions.

The statement also stressed the rejection of all forms of terrorism and extremism and condemned attacks on the embassies of the United States and other countries in the recent weeks and the resulting loss of life and property.

The statement included the following points regarding strategic cooperation between the two sides: Commitment of both sides in the light of challenges facing the region to promote political, military, security and economic cooperation between them in order to maintain peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Gulf region and the Middle East and to face the threats against the territory of the GCC countries and maritime security in the Gulf region.

The two sides expressed their deep concern over the continuing Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council and called on Iran to respect international principles in this area.

They also welcomed the formation of a joint security committee between the GCC and the United States, in the framework of the Strategic Cooperation Forum, to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, border security and territorial waters.

They welcomed the signing on September 25 in New York of the Framework Agreement for economic, trade, investment and technical cooperation as support for the work of the Forum.

Deepening cooperation between the GCC and the US in the field of missile defence, as a key element in their efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.

Valuation of close cooperation between the two sides in the field of maritime security and encouragement to take additional steps to deepen and coordinate these efforts and welcome the steps taken by the GCC countries with regard to the establishment of a navigational operations centre in Bahrain, and the desire of the United States to participate in its works, in order to work on harmonisation among the naval forces, match procedures for maritime communications, increase joint maritime operations between the two sides and strengthen cooperation in the fight against piracy and the safety of maritime navigation.

They welcomed existing efforts to strengthen the defence capabilities of the GCC countries and the United States in the Gulf region to maintain freedom of navigation in international waterways, and deter any threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, or disrupt regional or international trade.

These efforts include increased air and sea military movements, bilateral and multilateral joint exercises demining and improvement of regional air and missile defences.They expressed satisfaction over the participation of the GCC countries in the exercises of September 2012 for anti-mine actions as a first step for coordination in maritime security.

They expressed support for the ongoing efforts to develop and expand cooperation between the GCC and the United States to combat the spread of nuclear weapons based on the efforts that began in the workshop devoted to it, held in Dubai, in March 2012.

The meeting demanded of the Islamic Republic of Iran to fulfil its international obligations under nuclear non-proliferation agreement and resolutions of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

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