Foreign Minister chairs 149th session meeting of GCC Ministerial Council
Riyadh, Sept. 16 (BNA): Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the current session of the GCC Ministerial Council, His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, chaired the meeting of the 149th GCC Ministerial Council Session, held at the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Convention Center at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh, in the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the meeting, held in the presence of Their Highnesses and Excellencies the GCC Ministers of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of GCC Secretary General, His Excellency Dr. Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, HE Dr. Zayani gave a statement in which he said the Ministerial Council meeting comes amid a bothersome regional situation and worrying political, security, economic and health challenges. These challenges, he added, require from the member- states to continue strengthening cooperation and joint coordination at all levels to confront them, and to affirm solidarity in maintaining the cohesion of the GCC blessed system. He noted that the GCC states, in their response to the Covid-19 health crisis, have proven that their leaders, governments and peoples are very aware of the dangers that threaten human health and safety in the GCC states, and mindful of the grave impact of this pandemic, hence their response was truly up to the required level of responsibility. Dr. Zayani praised the keenness and interest of the GCC Health Ministries to continue joint coordination and constructive cooperation in dealing with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that the continuity of joint Gulf action is key to ensuring the cohesion of the GCC blessed system, achieving its lofty goals and implementing the decisions of their Majesties and Highnesses, the GCC leaders. He added that concerted efforts to confront regional challenges and crises necessitate further consolidation of cooperation, coordination and joint work to meet the challenges and achieve the aspired security, stability and prosperity for the GCC peoples. His Excellency noted that the summit of Their Majesties and Highnesses, leaders of the GCC countries, held in the Saudi Al-Ula governorate last January, represented a milestone in the GCC march, thanks to its constructive decisions that poured in the interest of the GCC countries and peoples. He pointed out that maintaining the GCC as a solid and stable entity, requires implementation of the esteemed Supreme Council’s recommendations and member- states’ commitment to the principles and goals towards stronger GCC cohesion and progress. Dr. Zayani added that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the President of the current GCC session, has praised, in an important statement, the depth of the strong historical relations between the GCC countries and citizens and noted Al Ula Summit’s emphasis to meet the GCC lofty objectives of consolidation of interdependence, coordination, cooperation, integration, unity and cohesion. His Excellency Dr. Zayani stressed the need to continue joint efforts to complete the requirements of the customs union, the Gulf Common Market and achieve economic unity by 2025. He emphasized the importance of completing negotiations with countries and international groups in order to reach free trade agreements with them. With regard to Afghanistan, he said the world was closely monitoring the developments in this brotherly Muslim country, whose people are in dire need today for urgent humanitarian aid to confront the difficult situation and maintain security, stability and civil peace. What is happening in Afghanistan, he explained, underscores the importance of concerted efforts by all Afghan parties and social components to stabilize the situation at home, protect civilians, and achieve Afghans’ aspirations for security, peace and development. He stressed the need to respect Afghans’ will, not to interfere in their internal affairs and to ensure that their soil is not used by any terrorist groups for illegal acts, calling for acceleration of urgent humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.