GCC, Canada seek to expand, accelerate bilateral cooperation

JEDDAH, May 23 (KUNA) — Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states and Canada emphasized the need for expanding mutual cooperation in various domains.
The ministers underlined, in a statement following the conclusion of the second session of the GCC-Canadian Strategic Dialogue session in Jeddah Monday, the need for closer government-to-government and people-to-people relations.
In addition to the political, security, and economic cooperation, the ministers called for expanding mutual social, cultural, educational, scientific relations. They agreed on cooperation for the promotion of human rights.
They approved a proposal to hold an annual ministerial meeting to discuss and coordinate stances of political developments of mutual concern and to enhance cooperation.
The ministerial meeting would be hosted by Canada and one of the GCC states in rotation. The coming meeting would held in 2017, the statement noted.
The ministers have approved a plan of action for political, security, trade, investment, energy, education, and health cooperation for the years 2016-20.
Moreover, a memorandum of understanding for exchanging viewpoints on political issues has been hammered out today.
On the Syrian crisis, the two sides stressed their commitment to preserve the unity of Syria and its stability and territorial integrity.
They expressed solidarity with the Syrian people, stressing the importance of full implementation of Security Council resolution 2254, and other UN resolutions.
They voiced deep concern over the suffering of the Syrian people, including refugees and displaced persons affected by the war inside the country.
They urged all parties to refrain from targeting civilians and infrastructure based on international humanitarian law.
The ministers stressed the importance of respecting the cessation of hostilities without violations, and provide suitable environment for the success of peace talks and a political solution based on the Geneva Principles (I) and the ministers expressed their full support for the envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Staffan de Mistura.
On the developments in Iraq, the ministers reiterated their support to the Iraqi government in its war on the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. They stressed the importance of an effective and inclusive Iraqi government to defeat the IS.
They reaffirmed their support for the Iraqi government’s efforts to maintain security and stability in Iraq and the need to provide financial support on a permanent basis to maintain the stability of the liberated areas and support for humanitarian programs to help those affected by the conflict.
On Libya, they welcomed the newly-minted national unity government and expressed readiness to offer all required support to help it overcome challenges and establish peace.
They urged the international community to back the Libyan government’s efforts to tackle the growing threat of extremism, especially that posed by the IS branch in Libya.
On Iran, the ministers criticized Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and urged Tehran to abide by good neighborliness principles and stop its interference in the domestic affairs on other countries.
They stressed that Iran must fully implement its obligations as per the nuclear deal signed with the major world powers.
They reiterated call for making the Middle East a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction, based on what has been agreed upon by the countries of the region.
They acknowledged the right of all states parties to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, according to the obligations of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons of the treaty, and the need to address the environmental concerns of countries in the region, and that Iran should ratify and fully implement all nuclear safety treaties.
With regard to terrorism, the ministers condemned the barbaric crimes committed by the IS group and other terrorist groups, emphasizing their firm opposition to terrorism and extremism and the need to dry up financial sources of extremist groups.
They agreed that the campaign against the IS and other terrorist organizations is not religious or sectarian but a war against terrorism and brutality.
They also agreed to strengthen cooperation in this regard to defeat terrorism and enhance security and stability, including a redoubling of efforts to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.
On the Palestinian cause, they highlighted the need to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a just, lasting and comprehensive agreement leading to the establishment of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
To achieve this, the ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and decided to continue the close coordination between them on efforts to urge the parties to demonstrate their commitment – through policies and actions – to the two-state solution.
The meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nezar Madani, Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khaled Al Khalifa and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Dr. Anwar Al-gergash, GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Maurice Dion The Kuwaiti delegation to the meeting was headed by Kuwait’s Ambassador in Riyadh Sheikh Thamer Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Consul General in Jeddah and its delegate to the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Saleh Al-Saqabi. (end) nh.ibi

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