The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) has welcomed the preliminary landmark deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany), further depicting that a fresh leaf is turned over in the relationship between the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf region that make up the GCC and their Shia neighbour.
“The GCC states have expressed their comfort towards the preliminary Geneva agreement pertaining to the Iranian nuclear programme, and we look forward to its success to lead to a permanent pact, that drives away the spectre of tension from our region,” said Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, on Tuesday at the opening session of the 34th summit in Kuwait City.
This is the first such summit since Iran struck a deal with the P5+1 in late November, to curb its controversial nuclear activity in exchange for partial easing of sanctions that have exhausted Tehran’s economy. The interim agreement is seen as a step towards concluding a final deal over Iran’s nuclear programme.
The six members of the GCC, that include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, have responded in different ways to Iran since relatively moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took on a task of amending damages caused by his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially with the West and their Arab allies.
Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, has paid visits to four of the six states, excluding Riyadh and Manama, who accuse the Shia powerhouse of inciting a three-year revolt by the Shia majority in Bahrain against the Sunni ruling family.
Syria on agenda
Washington has been trying to reassure its Gulf allies of their security following the deal reached with Iran.
The GCC summit, which will conclude its talks on Wednesday, will also discuss developments in war-torn Syria, as well as a Saudi proposal to transfer the council into a union.
Speaking at the summit, the head of the Syrian National Council, the umbrella organisation of Syrian rebels, called on the Gulf states to send aid to war-hit Syrians.
“The first drop of aid to support our nation’s resistance is through a humanitarian fund” that is “under the supervision and management of the SNC as you know the big size the catastrophe we face,” Al-Jarbi said.
Thousands have been killed since the civil war first broke out in Syria between rebel fighters battling against the regime troops, strongly supported by Iran and Russia, while about seven million have been displaced.