Dubai: The GCC leaders on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to achieving cooperation, interdependence and integration between their countries in all fields.
During a landmark summit held at Maraya Concert Hall in the historic Saudi city of AlUla, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, on behalf of King Salman, the GCC leaders signed the “AlUla Declaration” at the 41st GCC Summit, named “the Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah” in appreciation of their efforts.
The declaration calls for GCC unity and enhancing its regional and international role as a one economic and political bloc that helps achieve security, peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
The declaration stated that the Gulf citizens pin much hopes that the summit would restore joint work to its normal track, and strengthen the bonds of friendship and fraternity between the region’s peoples.
It said that Egypt’s signing of the declaration confirms the closer fraternal relations binding Egypt and the GCC countries. The communique says that coordination, cooperation and integration among the GCC countries serve the lofty goals of the Arab nation.
On military integration the communique highlights the importance of strengthening inter-GCC military integration under the supervision of the joint defence council, the supreme military committee and united military command to confront challenges, in line with the GCC’s joint defence agreement and security convention.
It reaffirms the need to enhance the GCC’s regional and international role by unifying political stances between its countries, and developing strategic partnerships with regional and international organisations to serve common interests.
The summit reiterated the GCC leaders’ keenness to reinforce the GCC’s gains, achieve aspirations of Gulf citizens and overcome all obstacles facing the march of joint GCC action.
It calls to benefit from Saudi Arabia’s successful experience in presiding the G20, use of advanced tools, including stimulating economy, engaging the business sector and civil society organisations as well as empowerment of women and young people in economic development, and encourage initiatives in digital economy.
The summit also calls for strengthening governance, transparency, accountability, integrity and anti-corruption tools through joint Gulf action with all GCC bodies, offices and specialized organizations, and taking advantage of what was agreed within the G20 and the Riyadh Initiative on cooperation in investigations and prosecution of cross-border corruption cases, as corruption has a significant impact on economic growth, sustainable development and mutual trust between governments and peoples.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, the communique calls for the full implementation of King Salman’s vision regarding the completion of economic unity and joint defence and security systems as well as formulating a unified foreign policy.
It also calls for the completion of the Gulf customs union and common market and achieving the full economic citizenship.
The final statement noted that the GCC citizens pin hopes on Alula Communique to restore joint action and reinforce the bonds of fraternity and solidarity between the peoples of the region.
It added that Egypt’s signing of the communique comes to emphasise the fraternal relations between GCC states and this Arab country, based on the GCC’ statutes purporting that full coordination and cooperation between the GCC states do serve the supreme goals of the Arab nation.
The communique pointed out that the COVID pandemic has evidenced what can be accomplished when world countries cooperate with each other, citing in this respect the unprecedented achievements made by the G20 Summit during its convening under the presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The statement noted that confronting the COVID pandemic and addressing its fallout necessitates reinforcing Gulf joint action as follows:
1) Full and precise implementation of the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, which has been endorsed during the GCC Supreme Council in its 36th session in 2015 as per an integrated and reliable schedule and accurate follow-up. This includes consolidating the fundamentals of economic unity and joint defence and security system while formulating a unified foreign policy.
2) Activating the role of the Gulf Centre for the Prevention and Combatting of Diseases, which has been set up during this summit based on the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, while seeking to empower it in support of coordinating a Gulf joint action in facing the Covid disease and other pandemics.
3) Fulfilling the requirements of the GCC Customs Union and Gulf Common Market in addition to achieving full economic integration in a way that ensures the right for all GCC citizens to work, move, and invest across the GCC states while getting equal education and healthcare services. This includes the establishment of the GCC Railway Network, and Food and Water Security Network; encouraging joint ventures; and nationalising Gulf investments.
4) Utilising the successful channels of cooperation reached during the Saudi presidency of the G20 Summit across all fronts, including provision of economic incentives; engaging the business sector and civil society institutions; ensuring women’s and youth empowerment in economic development efforts; and encouraging digital economy-related initiatives while entrusting the GCC General Secretariat to follow up plans and programmes developed in this respect in cooperation with specialist consultancies.
5) Developing technical capacities across all government departments, including AI in order to ensure expeditious and efficient execution of services and procedures in addition to developing educational syllabi, healthcare and e-commerce together with enhancing cooperation between the GCC institutions and Digital Cooperation Organization launched in 2020.
6) Enhancing governance, transparency, accountability, impartiality and counter-corruption through Gulf joint action while benefiting from the outcome of the G20 Summit and the Riyadh Initiative on cooperation in investigation regarding cases of global corruption and chasing culprits owing to the significant impact of corruption on economic development, sustainable development, and mutual trust between governments and peoples.
7) Strengthening defence integration between GCC states under the supervision of the Gulf Joint Defence Council, the Supreme Military Committee and the Unified Military Command in order to confront recent challenges.
8) Continuing the steps taken by the GCC and the G20 Summit under the presidency of Saudi Arabia to confront the COVID pandemic and mitigating its fallout on the local, regional and international levels, including standing by poor countries in areas of healthcare and economy.
9) Enhancing the regional and international role of the GCC in unifying political stances and developing strategic partnerships between Gulf states on the one hand and other world countries and regional and international groups and organisations on the other.