Cairo: Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Tuesday met in Riyadh for their annual summit with a call from host Saudi Arabia for a united stance to confront Iran. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, led the UAE delegation.
In recent months, Iran was blamed for a series of attacks on major oil Saudi facilities and oil tankers amid tensions between Tehran and the US in the energy-rich region.
Opening the 40th GCC summit, Saudi King Salman Abdul Aziz accused Iran of seeking to destabilise its neighbours.
“Our region is today undergoing circumstances and challenges that require concerted efforts to face them. The Iranian regime continues its aggressive acts to wreck security and stability and continues to support terrorism,” he said in a televised address.
“This behoves us to preserve gains of our countries and interests of our people as well as work with the international community to stop this regime’s interferences and seriously tackle its nuclear programme and its development of the ballistic missiles as well as safeguarding sources of energy, safety of waterways and freedom of maritime navigation,” the Saudi leader added.
Riyadh has repeatedly pointed an accusing finger at Iran for the September 14 attack on two of its major oil installations that temporarily disrupted the kingdom’s crude production.
Iran is also accused of illegally supplying weapons to Yemen’s Al Houthi militia, the target of a Saudi-led military campaign. The Yemeni rebels have fired dozens of missiles and drones into Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, King Salman renewed his backing for efforts to reach a political solution to Yemen’s years-long feud.
He also hailed a Saudi-brokered deal sealed last month between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, ending fighting between both sides who are partners of the military alliance in Yemen.
“We emphasise the alliance’s continued support for the Yemeni people and their government,” he added before calling for a session behind closed doors.
The Riyadh summit was originally slated to be held in the UAE, but was relocated to Saudi Arabia at the request of the UAE, King Salman said Tuesday.
Created in 1981, the GCC comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Oman was represented by a delegation headed by the Sultanate’s Prime Minister Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said. Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa arrived in Riyadh for the summit.