Foreign Minister chairs GCC joint ministerial meeting with Iraqi counterpart
Riyadh, Sept. 16 (BNA): Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the current GCC Session, HE Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, today chaired the joint ministerial meeting with the Foreign Minister of the brotherly Republic of Iraq, HE Dr. Fouad Mohammed Hossein. The meeting, held in Riyadh, on the sidelines of the 149th session of the GCC Ministerial Council, was attended by Their Highnesses and Excellencies the GCC Foreign Ministers and the GCC Secretary General, HE Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf. At the beginning of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a speech in which he explained that the ministerial meeting comes in implementation of the directives of Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC states. The GCC leaders, he added, always emphasize the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between the GCC and the brotherly Republic of Iraq because of the strong historical relations, kinship ties and a common destiny that bind the two sides, the very things emphasized by the Al-Ula summit, held last January in the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His Excellency affirmed the GCC firm stance towards the Republic of Iraq and its support for all the endeavors aimed at preserving Iraq's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs, stressing the need to support Iraq’s security and stability to help it confront violence, extremism and terrorism of all forms and manifestations. He also noted the need to work on enhancing the pace of cooperation to confront these challenges in a manner that serves the interests of both sides and hailed the strong links between both sides, leaders and peoples, as being an important motive for further cooperation as both sides share the same history, challenges, interests and destiny. “We are called to work intensively on the joint action plan (2019-2024) seeking to update it and activate the memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 between the two sides to achieve its desired goals in various fields and raise the level of distinguished relations between both sides,” said the minister. He expressed pride in the GCC countries’ achievements regarding the Gulf Electricity Grid Interlinkage project, noting that the two sides have made great strides towards the implementation of this vital project, which will have a great positive benefit for the countries and peoples concerned. He expressed his appreciation for the tangible efforts made by the authorities concerned on both sides as well as the efforts of the Gulf Electricity Grid Interlinkage Authority in striving to complete this strategic development project to the fullest. Dr. Zayani also expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to Their Excellencies senior officials of the foreign ministries of both sides, for their efforts to support political cooperation that has reached advanced stages and led to a congruence of views on many regional and international issues. For his part, HE Dr. Fouad Mohammed Hussein indicated that Iraq seeks to adopt positions to alleviate tensions and crises by giving priority to the language of dialogue, in light of the current challenges, conflicts and crises in the Arab region and the Middle East. These challenges and crises, he said, require concerted efforts to confront them and to find peaceful solutions to them, adding that Iraq is proceeding to complete the consultations that were agreed upon by signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Iraq and the GCC and discussing the joint action plan between the two sides. He added that Iraq welcomes all good initiatives by the GCC countries to activate the strategic dialogue and joint committees, and at the same time, looks forward to elevating the joint action plan in the future to the level of a full strategic agreement as a step to enhance cooperation in all fields, consolidate relations, and promote common interests. He also emphasized the importance of completing the Electricity Grid Interlinkage project, increasing cultural exchange, and scientific integration between Iraq and the GCC to achieve sustainable social and economic development in a way that would help the sides to effectively integrate into the global economy based on the principles of partnership and consultations.