GCC summit 181208
GCC summit Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh: The 40th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit will be held in the United Arab Emirates, the six members states said on Sunday evening in a communiqué issued at the conclusion of their 39th summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The GCC, established in 1981 in Abu Dhabi, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The presidency shifts among the six members based on the Arabic alphabet. Although the 39th summit was held in Riyadh upon a request from Oman, Oman will be the president for the next 12 months.

More from the 39th GCC summit

The communiqué included 72 items covering matters related to the Gulf countries, the region and the world.

The summit welcomed the announcement by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to set up a coordination council and to adopt a strategy for economic, development and military integration. It also hailed the establishment of the Saudi Kuwaiti coordination council.

The summit expressed full support to the Saudi measures in dealing with the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the kingdom’s keenness on obtaining all the information to uncover the truth.

The Council praised the statements made by the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia to reveal the results of the investigations carried out in this case, which reflect the commitment of the Kingdom to the rule of law and justice and to take all legal procedures to hold those involved in this crime accountable so that justice takes its course. The GCC noted in this regard the Saudi decision to review the status of some security agencies.

It also stressed its absolute rejection of the exploitation of the issue to prejudice the sovereignty, security and stability of Saudi Arabia, an integral part of the security and stability of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The GCC commended the success of the parliamentary and municipal elections held in Bahrain, which confirms the progress and success in the approach adopted by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to promote political gains, protect achievements and support progress and prosperity.

In relation to the continued occupation by Iran of the three islands, the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, which belong to United Arab Emirates, the GCC summit stated its unwavering and well-known stand that has been reiterated in all the previous statements, as follows:

• Supporting the right of the UAE to regain sovereignty over her three islands: the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, and over the territorial waters, the airspace, the continental shelf, and the economic zone of the three islands, as they are an integral part of the State of the United Arab Emirates.

• Expressing disappointment that the repeated contacts with the Islamic Republic of Iran have not yielded any positive outcomes that would actively contribute to the resolution of the issue, and lead to the security and stability of the region.

• Continuing to look into all peaceful means that would lead to the restoration of UAE's right on the three islands.

• Urging the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to the efforts of the UAE and the international community in solving the issue by peaceful means or taking recourse to the International Court of Justice.

The Council demanded that Iran abide by the basic pillars of promoting good neighbourly ties, mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs, solving disputes peacefully, not using or threatening to use force and rejecting sectarianism.

King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia inaugurated the 39th GCC Summit in Riyadh today. The summit is set to highlight regional unity where several issues will be discussed relating to Gulf cooperation. In his opening address, King Salman accused the Iranian regime of continuing to practice terrorism and threaten the stability of the region.

Saying “Our region is undergoing challenges and threats. The extremist and terrorist forces continue to threaten our common Gulf and Arab security.”

Adding “The Iranian regime continues its hostile policy of nurturing those forces and interfering in the internal affairs of other States. That requires all of us to preserve the gains of our nations and to work with our partners to maintain security and stability in the region and the world.”

King Salman started his speech saying that the aim of the council is to enhance the security, stability and development of the Gulf and its citizens. Reassuring the keenness of the Kingdom to maintain the unity of Gulf countries.

He also called on the international community to take necessary steps to protect Palestinians from the Israeli regime, saying the Palestinian cause was at the forefront of the kingdom’s concerns.

He also expressed support for a the political solution to the Yemen crisis.

In his address, the Emir of Kuwait Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah called for a halt to media campaigns in the Gulf, and asked for containing differences. “We are all keen on the Council realising the aspirations of the people,” he said.