Manama: The fifth Joint Ministerial Meeting of the GCC-Turkey High Level Strategic Dialogue has called on Iran not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the countries in the region.

The GCC, set up in 1981, comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement following their meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Thursday, the foreign ministers of the seven countries stressed the importance of relations between all states in the region being based on commitments to the United Nations Charter and the international laws, the principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference in internal affairs, resolution of disputes through peaceful means, respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries of the region, and refraining from the use or threat of force.

The ministers also called for a positive response to the efforts exerted by the UAE to settle the issue of the three islands through direct negotiations or the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The ministers in their final communiqué said the ministers were pleased with the outcome of their meeting and the agreement to extend the current joint action plan until the end of 2018 while upgrading it to keep it abreast with the latest strategic cooperation development.

As part of the strategic cooperation, task forces will hold meetings on commerce and investment, agriculture and food security, transport and communication, energy, environment, tourism, health, culture and education.

The meeting welcomed the holding of the second GCC-Turkish business and investment forum in Bahrain on November 1-2 and stressed the importance of setting up a free zone between the two sides through negotiations for a free trade agreement.

The meeting congratulated Saudi Arabia on the success of the Haj season and expressed appreciation of the outstanding facilities presented by Saudi Arabia to those who performed pilgrimage. The ministers also said they rejected all attempts to politicise the religious occasion.

The GCC countries reiterated their solidarity with Turkey in confronting the failed coup attempt on July 15 and expressed satisfaction with the success in overcoming it. They said they supported the measures taken by Turkey to preserve its security and stability under the leadership of President Recep Erdogan.

The meeting condemned the attack on the UAE vessel Swift near Bab Al Mendab off Yemen’s coast, saying it was an act of terrorism and a threat to international maritime activities in the region. The assault is a breach of international maritime laws and undermines all regional and international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Yemenis.

The ministers expressed support to the efforts by the Iraqi government to safeguard security and stability, but said they were concerned about plans to involve sectarian militias that have committed revengeful attacks, mass massacres and tortures, and blatant abuses of human rights against the local residents in the liberated areas. They said they fully rejected the use of Iraqi lands as secure shelters for terrorist groups to launch terror attacks.

The ministers also stressed their commitment to the territorial integrity, stability and safety of Syria as well as the unity, sovereignty and independence of Yemen.

They also called for the urgent agreement on a lasting, fair and integrated peace agreement that would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

The sixth joint meeting will be held next year, the ministers agreed.