Shaikh Khalifa discusses a point with outgoing GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al Attiyah at the summit on Tuesday. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Leaders of the GCC countries on Tuesday urged the United Nations to set up an international centre to combat terrorism.

They said in their communique, the centre will enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism through the exchange of information and expertise to watch terrorist organisations and foil their schemes.

All GCC member states have agreed to a common strategic approach to fight terrorism, sending a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestation, and resolving to take practical steps individually and collectively to prevent and combat it.

The spread of Al Qaida was a top item of concern for the leaders.

The GCC heads of state also vowed to stand with the international community in fighting terrorism. They cited the fear spread by Al Qaida in the region, condemning terrorist plots that they said were aimed at murdering innocents, spread destruction and halt development.

Analysts have warned that Gulf countries faced a range of threats, including internal ones to the stability of their regimes.

The leaders praised Saudi Arabia's arrests of scores of terrorists suspected to be Al Qaida members.

"We are closely following Saudi Arabia's effort to combat terrorism and while condemning terrorist acts we express support to the kingdom and the international community in their fight against terrorism in all its forms," the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, told the opening session.

Saudi Arabia arrested 149 people from 19 cells linked to Al Qaida over the past eight months and foiled attacks against government and security officials.

The non-Saudi suspects were Arabs, Africans and South Asians, he said, adding that the thwarted cells had links to Al Qaida in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

"These cells have links with Al Qaida who are disturbing the security in Yemen, with Somalia and organisations in Afghanistan," according to Saudi Interior Ministry.

The ministry confiscated 2.24 million riyals (Dh2.19 million) from Al Qaida suspects, he said, and militants had tried to collect the money and spread their ideology during the Haj and Umra pilgrimages.

The attackers were also reported to have been planning to target government facilities but did not say whether they included oil installations.

The leaders also stressed their support to Bahrain in its effort to combat terrorism.