Riyadh, – The GCC Ministerial Council reiterated its concern over the continued abduction of a number of Qatari citizens in Iraq, calling upon the Iraqi government to assume its responsibility to ensure the safety of the kidnapped citizens and release them.

In a press statement released at the end of the 142nd session of the GCC Ministerial Council in Riyadh today and carried by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Ministerial Council welcomed the outcomes of the 28th Arab Summit held in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 29 March 2017 and its constructive resolutions that serve the Arab issues and contribute to the achievement of the objectives and aspirations of the Arab States.

The Ministerial Council affirmed the GCC constant stances and resolutions against terrorism and extremism. The council reviewed the developments in this regard. It also confirmed a continuation of the GCC support regarding the international coalition to fight the terrorist organization (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, stressing the need to protect civilians and return of the displaced people to their cities and villages. The council welcomed outcomes of the international conference to promote efforts of the Islamic and friendly countries against ISIS terrorist organization held in Riyadh on January 15, 2017. The council considered this conference as a commitment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support all international efforts to combat terrorism.

The Ministerial Council lauded the efforts exerted by the security services in the Kingdom of Bahrain and its high efficiency in maintaining the security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its territorial integrity, praising its efforts to foil smuggling of a number of wanted fugitives in terrorist cases. The council supported all efforts taken by Bahrain in maintaining its security and stability.

The Ministerial Council condemned the terrorist attack on the guest house of Kandahar Governor which resulted in the martyrdom of the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Afghanistan and five diplomats during a humanitarian mission within the assistance program provided by the United Arab Emirates in Afghanistan. The Ministerial Council lauded the opening of the NATO Regional Center for the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative countries in Kuwait to enhance aspects of joint coordination and cooperation in the security fields.

The Ministerial Council welcomed the statement issued by the US Department of State, which included placing of some persons belonging to the so-called Saraya Al-Ashtar on the list of global terrorists, stressing that this position reflects the determination of the United States of America to address all forms of terrorism at the regional and international levels. The council stressed that this stance represents a tangible support for the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain to promote security and peace in Bahrain.

The Ministerial Council expressed its deep condemnation of the statement made by the representative of the Swiss Confederation before the United Nations Human Rights Council in its 34th session in Geneva on human rights in Bahrain. The council expressed its categorical rejection of the allegations in the statement which ignores the efforts exerted by Bahrain in protecting and enhancing human rights. The council expressed hope that the Swiss government is to review its position and take information on human rights from the reliable sources. The council stressed that these rejected positions do not help to develop and strengthen the common relations between the GCC States and the Swiss Union.

On the situation in the Palestinian territories and developments of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Ministerial Council stressed the GCC firm and permanent stances and resolutions towards the Palestinian Cause, stressing that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace can be achieved only with the full withdrawal of Israel from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967 and with establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the international relevant resolutions.

The Ministerial Council condemned the actions taken by the Israeli occupation authorities in Al-Quds to change its identity. The Council welcomed the security council resolution no. 2334 which denounced the Israeli settlement. The council strongly condemned the decision of the Israeli Parliament to allow settlement gatherings on the Palestinian private lands, which is a flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the international law, calling for pressure on the Israeli government to stop its illegal practices in the Palestinian occupied territories.

The Ministerial Council welcomed the outcomes of the Peace Conference held in Paris on January 15, 2017, to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations and its statement which calls to achieve a lasting and just peace in the region and calls upon the international community to carry out its responsibilities. The Council demanded more pressure on Israel in order to implement resolution no. 2334 and Paris conference outcomes.

The Ministerial Council confirmed the GCC permanent positions and resolutions which were confirmed by all previous statements rejecting Iranian continued occupation of the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa of the United Arab Emirates. The council stressed its support of the UAE sovereign right over its three islands: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa and the territorial water, airspace, continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of the three islands as an integral part of the territory of the United Arab Emirates. The council considered that any decisions, practices or acts carried out by Iran on the three islands are null and void as well as do not change any historical and legal facts.

The council calls upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to the UAE’s efforts to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or go to the International Court of Justice.

The Ministerial Council stressed the GCC stances and resolutions regarding the GCC-Iranian relations and listened to an explanation by Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, about his visit to Iran in January 2017, during which he conveyed a message from the Emir of Kuwait to the Iranian President on GCC-Iran relations.

The GCC Ministerial Council confirmed the necessity of fully abiding by the basic principles based on the Charter of the United Nations, the international law, the principles of good neighborliness, respecting the sovereignty of States, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes, and rejection of sectarianism. The council expressed its full rejection of the continuation of Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the GCC States and the region.

The Ministerial Council expressed its condemnation of the Iranian regime’s irresponsible provocative statements and acts of aggression against the Kingdom of Bahrain, calling upon the Iranian regime to stop the policies that feed sectarian conflicts.

The Ministerial Council confirmed the GCC stances and decisions in this regard that Iran abides by the agreement reached with the group of countries (5 + 1) in July 2015, on its nuclear program and to implement the Security Council resolution 2231 (July 2015) on the nuclear agreement.

The Ministerial Council stressed the GCC positions and resolutions on the Syrian crisis and followed up the results of the meetings of the Astana Conference between the Syrian opposition delegations and the regime in January and February, 2017 and the Geneva Conference on 23, February, 2017, stressing the need to stabilize the cease-fire and establish an effective and practical monitoring mechanism to achieve a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Declaration 1 (June 2012).

The Ministerial Council welcomed the US President Donald Trump’s commitment to sign an executive decision to develop a plan for the establishment of safe regions in Syria, hoping that this will contribute to maintaining the safety of civilians in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

The Ministerial Council welcomed the final communique issued by the 9th Coordination Meeting of the Group of Senior Donors to Support the Humanitarian Situation in Syria on 16, January, 2017 in the State of Kuwait.

The Ministerial Council confirmed the GCC firm stances and decisions on the crisis in Yemen and welcomed the issuance of UN Security Council Resolution No. 2342 under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations which stressed the national, regional and international key points to reach a political solution to the crisis.

The Ministerial Council lauded the meeting of the Quartet with the participation of the Sultanate of Oman on Yemen held in Bonn on 16, February, 2017, calling upon the Houthi and Saleh group to commit to peace and resume consultations under the auspices of the United Nations in accordance with the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, outputs of the comprehensive national dialogue conference, the Security Council resolution no. 2216, and the framework presented by the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General which includes security and political measures to end the crisis.

On Iraq, the statement reaffirmed the positions and decisions of the GCC on Iraq and expressed support for the Government of Iraq in taking measures aimed at combating terrorism and achieving security and stability in Iraq.

Regarding Libya, the statement stressed the positions and decisions of the Council on the Libyan crisis, stressing the need to implement the agreement signed between the Libyan parties in December 2015 as a framework to get out of the Libyan crisis, and reiterated the keenness of the GCC States on the security, stability and unity of Libyan territory.

On Lebanon, the Ministerial Council affirmed the positions and resolutions of the GCC Cooperation Council on Lebanon and welcomed the visit made by Lebanese President Michel Aoun to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in January 2017. It stressed the importance of the relations between the GCC States and Lebanon at all levels as well as importance of supporting Lebanon to achieve its security, stability and prosperity. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency