Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif speaks at the three-day GCC Interior Ministers Consultative meeting in Abu Dhabi that concluded yesterday. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Steps must be taken to strengthen security and enhance communication between countries in the region, especially in the face of the political and security challenges in the neighbourhood.

The topic was the main point of discussion highlighted by delegates at the 12th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Interior Ministers Consultative Meeting, which concluded yesterday.

"There are many new challenges currently being faced by leaders of the GCC but we must remain committed to extending and supporting communication between our security institutions, which will allow our leaders to not only strengthen the bond between our countries but also provide us with the means to achieve the goals of both the governments and the people of the region," said Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The three-day conference, which began on Sunday, saw Ministers of Interior and their undersecretaries from across the GCC, led by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif, discuss the current situation in the Middle East as well as the guidelines that may be put into place to enhance security in the region.

Continued success

"Among the achievements of this conference is the continued success in adopting a comprehensive security agreement between our member states, which will contribute to enhancing safety and security in the Gulf," said Prince Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of the Interior.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Bahrain's Minister of Interior, agreed, and noted that the reactions and help his country received recently highlighted the high level of cooperation among GCC member states.

"While we currently enjoy each other's support, more must be done to enhance security and stability in the region. We must modify the security agreement between the GCC countries for both bilateral and collective cooperation. One method that could be used to achieve this is the establishment of a regional centre of the Criminal Police in the GCC States," he said.

Other achievements were also noted during the final session. Gulf News learnt that the meeting discussed the killing of Osama Bin Laden and concerns, if any, regarding the future of Al Qaida.

"Many achievements have been made recently by member states to continue maintaining security and stability in the region, such as the discovery of a foreign conspiracy in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as what has been the discovery of the spy network in Kuwait," said Dr Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the GCC.

Assault on piracy

"In addition, the UAE has had great success in combating piracy and hosting of an international conference to address this issue and Qatar is continuing to accomplish its goal in supporting the Criminal Information Centre for Drug Control," he added.

Iran meddling flayed

The GCC Interior Ministers condemned the Iranian interference in Bahrain's domestic affairs as a violation of international conventions and principles of good neighborhood.

The statement was made at the conclusion of the 12th consultative meeting of the GCC interior ministers in Abu Dhabi.

The meeting discussed a number of issues on its agenda, notably, the joint coordination and cooperation, security as well as the latest regional developments.

The ministers denounced statements by the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Army on the Arabian Gulf's identity. They described the statements as irresponsible and provocative which contradict the principles of good neighborhood, mutual respect and non-interference in others' internal affairs.