Gulf leaders signed a “solidarity and stability” agreement towards ending the diplomatic rift with Qatar at a summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
The announcement was made at the Gulf Arab leaders’ meeting in Saudi Arabia, with the annual summit taking place amid a breakthrough in the dispute between a Saudi Arabia-led bloc and Qatar that started in June 2017.
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Leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed the Al-Ula declaration, named after the Saudi city where the summit is being held, and a final communique.
This is the English translation of the closing statement of the summit in full:
In response to the gracious invitation from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, may God protect him, the Supreme Council held its 41st summit in the city of Al-Ula on Tuesday, 21st Jumada I, 1442 AH, corresponding to January 5, 2021.
The summit was chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, crown prince, deputy prime minister and minister of defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and was attended by:
· His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
· His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, crown prince, deputy supreme commander and prime minister of Bahrain.
· His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, the deputy prime minister for cabinet affairs in the Sultanate of Oman.
· His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of the State of Qatar.
· His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the emir of the State of Kuwait.
Secretary-General of the GCC Nayef Falah al-Hajraf also participated in the meeting.
1. The Supreme Council expressed its deep sadness and grief over the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, may God have mercy on his soul. The life of the late sultan of Oman was filled with great works and achievements, and his journey was full of sincere contributions and tireless work towards the progress and prosperity of the Sultanate of Oman and its people. The Council offered its sincere condolences and sympathy to the sultanate of Oman, its leadership, government and people, and to the Arab and Islamic nation as a whole for this great loss. The Council showcased the role of the late Sultan in promoting the journey of the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with his fellow leaders of the GCC states, and his great efforts in serving the Arab and Islamic causes, and promoting regional and world peace.
2. The Supreme Council expressed its deep sadness and grief over the death of His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the emir of the State of Kuwait, may God have mercy on his soul. The life of the late emir was filled with great works and achievements, and his journey was full of sincere contributions and tireless work towards the progress and prosperity of the State of Kuwait and its people. The Council offered its sincere condolences and sympathy to the State of Kuwait, its leadership, government and people, and to the Arab and Islamic nation as a whole for this great loss. The Council showcased the role of the late emir in promoting the journey of the GCC, along with his fellow leaders of the GCC states, and his great efforts in serving the Arab and Islamic causes, and promoting regional and world peace.
3. The Supreme Council expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Kingdom of Bahrain on the death of His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, prime minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, may God have mercy on his soul, recalling the achievements of the late prince in promoting joint Gulf actions.
4. The Supreme Council welcomed His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the sultan of Oman, may God protect him, and expressed its full confidence that the sultan, with his wisdom, will enhance the active participation of the Sultanate of Oman in pushing forward the blessed march of the GCC and achieve its noble goals, along with his fellow leaders of the GCC states, by maintaining the security of the GCC and preserving the systems to achieve stability.
5. The Supreme Council welcomed His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of the State of Kuwait, may God protect him, and expressed its full confidence that His Highness, with his wisdom, will enhance the active participation of the State of Kuwait in pushing forward the blessed march of the GCC and achieve its noble goals, along with his fellow leaders of the GCC states, by maintaining the security of the GCC and preserving the systems to achieve stability and prosperity for the GCC states and their peoples.
6. The Supreme Council congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, may God protect him, for his chairmanship of the 41st summit of the GCC, expressing its appreciation for the eagerness and interest in his opening speech to push forward the march towards joint cooperation of the GCC states in all areas.
7. The Supreme Council expressed its deep appreciation and gratitude for the tremendous and sincere efforts made by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, may God protect him, and his esteemed government, during the UAE’s chairmanship of the 40th summit of the GCC, and the important steps taken and achievements made. The Council congratulated His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, may God protect him, on the Kingdom of Bahrain’s chairmanship of the 41st summit of the GCC, wishing the country success in promoting the journey of the GCC in all fields.
8. The Supreme Council highlighted its interest in strengthening and promoting the cohesion of the GCC, as well as the unity among its members, which are linked by special relationships and common traditions based on the Islamic faith and Arab culture. The GCC is also linked by a shared destiny and a single purpose, which unites their people together, and a desire to achieve more peace, integration and interdependence between them in all fields. This is made possible by the Council’s benevolent march to achieve the goals of the citizens of the GCC states. The council stressed that its members stand united in the face of any potential threat to any of the GCC states.
9. The Supreme Council praised the sincere efforts made by the late His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah of the State of Kuwait, may God have mercy on his soul, to heal the rift between the member states. The Council expressed its appreciation and gratitude for the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of the State of Kuwait, may God protect him, as well as the efforts made by the United States in this regard.
10. The Supreme Council welcomed the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration, which aims to strengthen the unity and solidarity between the member states, restore the normal joint Gulf actions, and preserve the security and stability of the region.
11. The Supreme Council congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the success of the 2020 G20 Riyadh summit, which was held virtually and chaired by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, may God protect him. The Council appreciated the exceptional efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during its chairmanship of the G20 Summit, proving its pivotal leadership and role in preparing and managing the work of the summit and the meetings that took place on all levels, despite the health circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit produced important decisions in the health, economic, political and social fields, which will reflect positively on the support and promotion of the international cooperation in facing crises and working towards a better future for all.
12. The Supreme Council commended the steps taken to raise the level of representation of the Saudi-Bahrain coordination, to be headed by the crown princes of the two countries. The Council welcomed the positive results of the Joint Coordination Council meeting held on December 24, 2020, which aims to enhance the joint bilateral relations in a way that promotes the integration of the two sister states and push forward towards joint goals and aspirations of the GCC states and their people. The Council also welcomed the appointment of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as prime minister of Bahrain, wishing him success in performing his duties.
13. The Supreme Council commended the UAE’s Hope probe space mission which will reach Mars next February, and the launch of the Barakah nuclear power plant under the UAE’s Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, as these projects emphasise the interest in science, technology, renewable energy and space exploration, which promote development. The council stressed the importance of the exchange of experience between the member states in these areas.
14. The Supreme Council declared its full support for the success of the UAE’s hosting of the Dubai Expo 2020. The council stressed that the success of this global event is a success for all GCC states and its people, by organising major events that enhance dialogue and facilitate communication between cultures, firmly establishing the region’s position as an international hub for business.
15. The Supreme Council took note of the announcement of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of the State of Qatar, may God protect him, to hold the Shura Council elections next October, praising this step. The council stressed the importance of coordination and cooperation between legislative chambers of the GCC states.
16. The Supreme Council congratulated the State of Qatar on the election of His Excellency Mr Ahmad Bin Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud, the speaker of the Shura Council, as board chair of the Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption for the period of 2019-2021.
17. The Supreme Council praised the preparations made by the State of Qatar to host the 2022 Football World Cup, reaffirming its support for the State of Qatar in anything that leads to the success of the upcoming World Cup.
18. The Supreme Council commended the State of Qatar’s hosting of the Horticultural Expo 2021, themed “Green Desert, Better Environment”, which is to be held in Doha from October 2, 2023, to March 28, 2024. The expo aims to encourage innovative solutions, reduce desertification, support agriculture, and promote environmental awareness and sustainability in desert areas.
19. The Supreme Council congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on winning the presidential election. The Council stated its aspiration to strengthen the historical and strategic relations with the US and work together to achieve peace and stability in the region and the world. The Council also extended its wishes for the fellow American people to achieve progress and prosperity under the leadership of the president.
Measures taken by the GCC states to control the COVID-19 pandemic
20. The Supreme Council extended thanks and appreciation for all personnel at the forefront of the pandemic including health and medical teams, security teams, civil defence and female and male volunteers for the sacrifices and contributions they are making to deal with coronavirus pandemic, paying tribute to the souls of the victims who have sacrificed their lives for the safety of others.
21. The Supreme Council reviewed the latest developments and health and preventive measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the GCC states, lauding the great efforts being exerted by the component agencies in the GCC states, citing the high-level preparedness and supervision and future forecast to curb the negative effects of the pandemic at all levels, emanating from the eagerness of the GCC leaders to observe human rights and preserve the health and safety of citizens inside and outside the countries as well as the expatriates within their territories.
22. The Supreme Council appreciated the commitment of GCC citizens and residents and their response to instructions and precautionary measures to reduce the effects of the pandemic. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of the collective response and cooperation with international and regional organisations as well as brotherly and friendly countries to confront these challenges and work to provide vaccines to prevent this virus, and to treat the infected.
23. The Supreme Council praised the precautionary measures being taken by the GCC countries and the economic, social and health measures that were discussed by the relevant ministerial committees, to enhance joint action and collective thinking to deal with the repercussions of the crisis and its economic and social effects. The Supreme Council appreciated what the GCC secretary-general has done in this regard and affirmed the continuation of deepening cooperation and integration in the economic and developmental field among the GCC states.
24. The Supreme Council highlighted the need to continue supporting medical centres and facilities in the GCC countries to face future health threats to preserve the health of citizens and residents of the GCC states.
25. The supreme council expressed its appreciation of the member states for their solidarity at the regional level and support for international efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, through their generous support to humanitarian and medical organisations and agencies, as well as to the affected countries and people, stressing the importance of continuing global collective cooperation and coordination to face the consequences of this pandemic.
26. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of mobilising and intensifying the collective efforts of the GCC countries in all fields, and the continuity of the pace of work and the virtual holding of meetings, in case they were not held in attendance concerning all the committees working within the framework of the GCC at its various levels.
27. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation with international and regional organisations and exchanging experiences in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing its economic and social effects.
28. The Supreme Council directed the Secretariat General to complete monitoring and documenting the efforts of the GCC countries to confront the COVID-19 pandemic in several fields, develop an electronic information base to document these efforts and prepare comprehensive reports to be circulated and published.
Vision of the custodian of the two holy mosques
29. The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction with the progress made in implementing the vision of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, which promotes and activates joint Gulf actions, as outlined by the Supreme Council during the 36th GCC Summit held in December 2015.
30. The Supreme Council assigned all ministerial and technical bodies, councils, committees, the Secretariat General, and all other GCC agencies to implement the remaining steps in the vision, by doubling their efforts within a specific timeframe, including the implementation of economic unity, joint defence and security systems within the Cooperation Council. The vision’s terms also include developing a unified and effective foreign policy that preserves the Council’s interests and benefits, helping it avoid regional and international conflicts, and meet the goals and aspirations of GCC citizens.
31. The Council instructed the Secretariat General to submit a comprehensive report for the next summit to the Supreme Council, clarifying what has been implemented from the terms of the vision, and to submit proposals that would help alleviate any difficulties facing the implementation of the vision.
Joint Gulf actions
32. The Supreme Council looked into the outcome of the implementation of its decision made at the 32nd GCC Summit regarding the proposal of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, may God have mercy on his soul, which constitutes moving the Gulf states from a place of cooperation to a place of union, instructing the Supreme Council to continue its efforts in achieving this transformation, as well as the Ministerial Council and the head of the specialised body to implement the necessary measures towards this transformation, and to inform the Supreme Council during the next Summit of what has been achieved.
33. The Supreme Council reviewed the developments made regarding the joint Gulf actions, and stressed the importance of preserving the Council’s achievements and accomplishments. The Council also directed the competent bodies in the member states, Secretariat General and the ministerial and technical committees to redouble their efforts to achieve the noble goals stipulated in the Statute of the Cooperation Council.
34. The Supreme Council praised the efforts of the GCC states to enhance the mechanisms of integrity, efficiency, governance, transparency and accountability in government agencies, and the fight against corruption. It also called for the strengthening of joint cooperation in its fight against corruption within the framework of the GCC, its agencies and the specialised Gulf organisations.
35. The Supreme Council emphasised the importance of the implementation of all decisions and agreements issued and made by the Cooperation Council. It also stressed the importance of implementing the decisions according to the outlined schedule and the commitment to the contents of these decision because of its importance in protecting the security of member states, maintaining their stability, protecting the safety of the states and the interests of their citizens, as well as creating a stable economic and social environment that enhances the wellbeing of GCC citizens.
36. The Supreme Council approved the Gulf general framework for a public health plan to prepare for and respond to emergency situations. The Council assigned the concerned authorities in the GCC states to implement this plan by cooperating and coordinating with health ministries as reference bodies.
37. The Supreme Council adopted the Early Health Warning System Guideline as a reference to prepare for an early warning system in the GCC States, in accordance with the local regulations of each country.
38. The Supreme Council approved the establishment of the Gulf Center for Disease Prevention and Control, under the umbrella of Gulf Health Council for Cooperation Council States.
39. The Supreme Council approved the extension of the validity period of the unified guiding regulation for empowering people with disabilities, and unified guiding regulation for volunteer work as a guideline, for a period of two years.
40. The Supreme Council approved the GCC strategy in the field of civil service and human resource development 2021-2025.
41. The Supreme Council approved a law (regulation) for preventive measures against infectious and epidemic animal diseases and combating them in the GCC states, as a guideline, for a period of two years.
42. The Supreme Council approved the unified guiding regulation for the protection, development and exploitation of living aquatic resources, as a guideline, for a period of two years.
43. The Supreme Council approved the amended Patent Law (Regulation) for the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf.
44. The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction with the results of the 13th and 14th meetings of the GCC Speakers of the Shura Councils, Council of Representatives, the Federal National Council, and the National Assembly, which were held in July and November 2020, appreciating the efforts made by the councils of the member states in promoting joint Gulf action.
45. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of focusing on projects with an integrated strategic dimension in economic and developmental areas, most notably the completion of the requirements of the Customs Union, the completion of the common Gulf market and the railway project. The Council stressed the need to work on developing an integrated system to achieve food, water and energy security, and adopting the goals and mechanisms of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the field of information technology, communication and Artificial Intelligence.
46. The Supreme Council emphasised the importance of continuing to support and encourage small and medium enterprises, believing in their vital role and contributions to the economies of the GCC states.
47. The Supreme Council reviewed the report on the follow-up to the implementation of the work programme of the Economic and Development Affairs Authority and directed the speedy implementation of a plan for completing studies and projects related to achieving economic unity among the countries of the Cooperation Council by 2025.
48. The Supreme Council approved the agreement on the system of linking payment systems between the GCC states, considering it the legal umbrella for the payments and settlements between the Council states, and authorising the members of the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee to sign it.
49. The Supreme Council blessed the Gulf Payments Company carrying out its work and the start of the first phase of operating the Gulf Payments System (Afaq) between the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Saudi Central Bank, and the integration of the rest of the Gulf central banks to the system, respectively, according to the outlined schedule and approved stages of work.
50. The Supreme Council approved the amended Unified Consumer Protection Law (Regulation) for the GCC states.
Joint military and security action
51. The Supreme Council approved the amendment of Article 6 of the Joint Defense Agreement, by changing the name of the “Joint Peninsula Shield Forces Command” to the “GCC Unified Military Command”.
52. The Supreme Council approved the decisions of the Joint Defense Council in its 17th session regarding areas of military integration between the countries of the Cooperation Council, and affirmed its support for joint military integration efforts to achieve the collective security of the GCC states, and expressed its satisfaction with the steps taken to activate the work of the Unified Military Command.
53. The Supreme Council approved the decisions of their Highnesses and Excellences, the interior ministers, at their 37th meeting, stressing the importance of strengthening joint Gulf security action to ensure security and the stability of the GCC states. The council offered its thanks and appreciation to the employees of the security services facing the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts made to limit its spread.
54. The Supreme Council praised the success of the tactical exercise (Arab Gulf Security 2) hosted by the UAE in February 2020, stressing the importance of the exercise in strengthening security cooperation between the GCC countries and the professional compatibility between the concerned agencies to consolidate the foundations of security and deter anyone who tries disrupt the security and stability of the region. The Supreme Council blessed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s request to host the joint tactical exercise for the security services (Arab Gulf Security 3), on assumptions about dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
55. The Supreme Council confirmed the Cooperation Council’s firm positions and decisions towards terrorism and extremism, regardless of its originating source. It also rejected all of its forms, manifestations, motives and justifications and confirmed work to stop the sources of its finance. The council confirmed tolerance and coexistence between nations and people are among the most important principles and values on which societies of the council states are built, and their relations with other peoples were based.
56. The Supreme Council expressed its strong condemnation of publishing any defaming drawings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), considering this an offence to the feelings of Muslims, a blatant expression of hatred, and a form of racial discrimination. The Council emphasised the importance of promoting a culture of tolerance, coexistence and dialogue, calling on world leaders, thinkers and decision-makers to assume the great responsibility that falls on the shoulders of anyone seeking peace and coexistence to reject hate speech and contempt directed towards religions and their symbols, and to respect the feelings of Muslims all over the world, instead of falling into the traps of Islamophobia adopted by hardline groups.
57. The Supreme Council praised the efforts of the international alliance led by the US to capture the leaders of the so-called ISIL (ISIS) “terrorist” organisation, which worked to distort the true image of Islam and Muslims, confirming the continuing and relentless efforts made by the GCC states along with their allies in combating “terrorism” and rooting out its sources.
58. The Supreme Council welcomed the US’s decision to classify the so-called Saraya Al-Ashtar and Saraya Al-Mukhtar, found in the Kingdom of Bahrain and backed by Iran, as “terrorist” organisations. This reflects the commitment to combat terrorism as well as its supporters and instigators.
59. The Supreme Council praised the decisions of the countries that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, which is an important step that reflects the eagerness of the international community to combat all kinds of terrorism and its organisations at the regional and international levels. The Council urged its fellow countries to follow suit to combat terrorism and eradicate its financial sources.
Regional and international issues
60. The Supreme Council reviewed developments taking place at the regional and international levels, confirming the Council’s eagerness to maintain stability and security in the region and support the prosperity of their people. It also confirmed the eagerness to strengthen relations with other close and friendly countries and to work with regional and international organisations to maintain global peace and security and to strengthen the Council’s role in achieving peace, sustainable development and meet the noble aspirations of the Arab and Islamic nations.
61. The Supreme Council confirmed the GCC positions rejecting foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries and underscored the importance of desisting from provocative acts through stoking struggles and strife. The Supreme Council confirmed the importance of respecting the principles of sovereignty and non-interference and respect of other countries privacies according to the international charters, norms and laws that organise relations among countries. The Supreme Council states the security of the states of the GCC is an integral source of the Arab national security according to the Arab league charter.
The Supreme Council also confirmed the GCC positions rejecting any threat targeting a member country as the GCC security is integral, based on the principle of joint defence and concept of collective security based on the GCC statute and joint defence agreement.
The Palestinian cause
62. The Supreme Council highlighted the firm position taken by the GCC states regarding the Palestinian cause, which is considered to be the first priority by Arabs and Muslims. The Supreme Council expressed its support for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all occupied Palestinian territories since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the guarantee of the rights of refugees, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, international references and international legitimacy decisions. The Supreme Council stressed the Palestinian cause is central to the GCC, emphasising the need to activate the international community’s efforts to resolve the conflict in a way that meets all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people accordingly.
63. The Supreme Council condemned the demolition of dozens of homes by the Israeli occupying authority in East Jerusalem, calling on the international community to intervene and stop the targeting of the Palestinians and the forced displacement of citizens from the city of Jerusalem, as well as the attempt to change the legal nature and demographic composition of the city, which contradicts with the international and humanitarian laws and related agreements.
64. The Supreme Council expressed its rejection of any approach to annexe settlements in the West Bank to Israel, a clear violation of the United Nations Charter, international law and UN resolutions, including the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 for 2016, the international justice tribunal consultative opinion in 2004 and Geneva 4th agreement in 1949.
65. The Supreme Council confirmed that Israel’s policy related to house demolitions and the displacement of residents undermines the possibility of achieving a two-state solution and establishing permanent peace.
66. The Supreme Council emphasised the importance of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA), praising the generous assistance provided by the GCC states to support the Agency’s activities, and demanded the international community continue providing support to continue its mission until the return of the Palestinian refugees.
Iranian occupation of the three islands of the UAE:
67. The Supreme Council confirmed its firm positions and previous decisions regarding the condemnation the continued occupation of the three islands, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb And Abu Musa of the UAE, reaffirming the following:
68. Supporting the sovereignty right of the UAE over its three islands, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb And Abu Musa, and the territorial waters, skies, the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone of the three islands as an integral part of the territory of the UAE.
69. Considering that any decisions, practices or actions undertaken by Iran on the three islands are null and void and do not change anything from the historical and legal facts that are unanimously agreed upon regarding the UAE’s sovereignty over its three islands.
70. Calling on Iran to respond to the UAE’s efforts to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or resorting to the International Court of Justice.
71. The Supreme Council affirmed its firm positions and decisions regarding relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, stressing the need for Iran to adhere to the basic principles based on the UN Charter and charters of international law, principles of good neighbourliness, respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and resolving disputes by peaceful means, not to use force or threaten to resort to force, and reject sectarianism.
72. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of building trust between the Cooperation Council states and Iran, in accordance with previously approved principles by the Council and the Iranian side was informed of, adherence to international charters and norms for relations between states, taking into account the security of the region and the aspirations of its peoples and defusing escalations in the region.
73. The Supreme Council expressed its total rejection of the continuation of Iranian interference in internal affairs of the GCC states and the region, and its condemnation of all “terrorist” acts carried out by Iran, and its support of sectarian conflicts, in clear violation of international norms and values, and threatening regional and international security. The Supreme Council stressed the need to stop and refrain from supporting groups that are fueling these conflicts, and to stop supporting, financing and arming sectarian militias and “terrorist” organisations, including providing them with ballistic missiles and aerial drones to target civilians, and threatening international shipping lines and the global economy.
74. The Supreme Council confirmed that any negotiation process with Iran must include addressing Iran’s destabilising behaviour in the region, the Iranian missile programme, including Ballistic missiles, cruises missiles and aerial drones, and the Iranian nuclear programme, stressing the need to involve the GCC countries in such a process. The Supreme Council also confirmed the necessity of preventing nuclear proliferation, completing efforts aimed at creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the need for the GCC states to take part in future international negotiations concerning the Iranian nuclear programme, and to subject Iran to adhere to the standards and protocols of the International Atomic Energy Agency, including a commitment to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, which includes clarifying issues related to the possible military dimensions of its nuclear programme, in addition to addressing Iran’s destabilising behaviour in the region and the world, and its sponsorship of “terrorism”, in order to ensure it does not undertake any kind of provocations in the future, which will help reintegrate it into the international community and realise the interests and wellbeing of the Iranian people.
75. The Supreme Council lauded the statement issued by the meeting of the Quartet Arab Ministerial Committee with following up on the developments of the crisis with Iran, which includes a condemnation of the Iranian regime’s serious violations of international laws, charters, and norms as well as practices that threaten the security of the region, and the stability of Arab countries, interference in their internal affairs and its support of armed militias that spread chaos, division and devastation in many Arab countries, along with the committee’s emphasis on urging the international community to assume its responsibilities regarding the threats posed by Iran’s hostile practices and its sponsorship of “terrorist” activities in the region and the world, as a threat to international peace and security.
76. The Supreme Council expressed its condemnation of Iran’s continued failure to fulfil its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ceasing the implementation of its commitment, and its delay in providing the required information about its nuclear programme. The Supreme Council also stressed the need for Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA, especially with regard to its violations of uranium ratios and to respect for the immunities and privileges of IAEA’s inspectors.
77. The Supreme Council affirmed the need for continuing international efforts to compel the Iranian regime to stop its destabilising policy in the region, adhere to the principles of international law, and stop its interference in the internal affairs of other countries, as well as its support for terrorism and sectarianism.
78. The Supreme Council welcomed the decision of the US to classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a “terrorist” organisation and stressed the importance of this step in countering the dangerous role that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards plays as an element of instability, a factor of tension, and a tool to spread violence and terrorism in the Middle East and the world at large. The Supreme Council emphasised the importance of continuing the ban on the export of conventional weapons to Iran and the continuation of related sanctions.
79. The Council affirmed its support for all measures taken by the GCC countries to preserve their security and stability in the face of Iranian interference in their internal affairs and its support for extremism and terrorism.
80. The Council condemned actions that target the security and safety of navigation, maritime installations, energy supplies, oil pipelines, and oil installations in the Arabian Gulf and waterways, as acts that threaten the security of the GCC states and the region, the freedom of international navigation, and undermine regional and international peace and security. This includes the sabotage attack on oil supply facilities to global markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in September 2019, and the international investigation showed Iran’s involvement in it. The Council affirmed that the GCC states support the measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to protect its security and stability.
81. The Supreme Council affirmed the firm positions and decisions of the Cooperation Council regarding supporting legitimacy in Yemen, represented by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government, to end the Yemeni crisis and reach a political solution, in accordance with the terms of reference represented by the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and Security Council Resolution 2216, in a way that preserves the fellow country of Yemen, its unity and integrity, respect for its sovereignty and rejects any interference in its internal affairs. The Supreme Council restated its support for the United Nations and thanked its envoy, Martin Griffiths, for his efforts to reach a political solution in accordance with those references.
82. The Supreme Council praised the sincere efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that resulted in the signing of a mechanism to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council on July 29, 2020. The Supreme Council welcomed the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement by the Yemeni parties represented by the legitimate government and the Southern Transitional Council and the formation a government of political competencies that includes all components of the Yemeni spectrum, in addition to appointing a governor for Aden governorate and a director for its security. The Supreme Council appreciated the Yemeni parties’ eagerness on Yemen’s interest and achieves the aspirations of its brotherly people to restore security and stability. The Supreme Council considered the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement as an important step towards reaching a political solution based on the references to end the Yemeni crisis.
83. The Supreme Council welcomed the arrival of the Yemeni government to the temporary capital, Aden, on December 30, 2020, to carry out its work in the liberated areas, to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Yemeni people and restore security and stability throughout Yemen. The Supreme Council condemned the “terrorist” attack that targeted the government upon its arrival at Aden airport, which resulted in many innocent civilian casualties. The Supreme Council called for creating an atmosphere for the Yemeni government to practice all its legitimate activities and to strengthen its ability to restore the authority of the Yemeni state and its institutions in all parts of Yemen.
84. The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the Yemeni government’s initiative to resume the introduction of oil derivatives through the port of Hodeidah, the entry of all oil tankers that meet the conditions to the port, and the deposit of all their revenues in a new special account in the Central Bank, according to a specific mechanism in which the United Nations guarantees the preservation of these revenues and their use in handing over salaries to employees across Yemen. The Supreme Council condemned the Iranian-backed Houthi militia’s seizure of revenues from oil derivatives import fees from the special account in the Central Bank in Hodeidah city, which is designated to pay the salaries of civil servants.
85. The Supreme Council praised the achievements made by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action through its branches in the governorates of Yemen, the projects implemented by the Saudi centre towards the development and reconstruction of the governorates of Yemen, and the humanitarian support provided by the GCC states through the coordinating office for the relief and humanitarian aid, in addition to the humanitarian and development aid provided by all of the GCC states to Yemen, which is estimated to be more than than $13bn since 2015. The Supreme Council highlighted GCC countries’ support of the UN’s humanitarian response and relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and achieve security and stability in the country. The Council praised the efforts of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) to demine the lands of Yemen, which since its inception has managed to clear more than 200,000 mines, unexploded ammunition, and explosive devices that Houthi militia randomly planted in governorates of Yemen.
86. The Supreme Council commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s organisation of a donors conference for Yemen’s aid in June 2020, through which donor countries pledged $1.35bn to help humanitarian agencies operating in Yemen provide basic and emergency services, including the funding the COVID-19 control programmes, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s announcement to provide $500m to support response plans. The Supreme Council called on donors to fulfil the current pledges and consider making more contributions.
87. The Supreme Council welcomed the statement issued by the different countries including the State of Kuwait, the US, China, France, Russia, Germany, Sweden and the European Union, through which they announced their commitment to providing additional funding for the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan, amounting to more than $350m for famine prevention.
88. The Supreme Council condemned the Iran-backed Houthi militia obstructing the arrival of the UN technical support teams to conduct inspection and maintenance of the floating oil tank, Safer, situated in the Red Sea off the coast of Hodeidah, which contains more than a million barrels of crude oil, which may cause a serious environmental, economic and humanitarian disaster and whose effects extend beyond Yemen in the event that the international community, represented by the Security Council, does not exert more pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militias supported in order to comply with the demands of the international community and allow the UN specialised technical teams access to floating oil tank, Safer, as soon as possible to prevent the occurrence of an environmental disaster in the Red Sea.
89. The Supreme Council confirmed the hostile attacks carried out by Iran-backed Houthi militias, its “terrorist” operations of launching ballistic missiles and drones that target civilians and civilian belongings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the violation of international and humanitarian law by using the civilian population in civilian areas in Yemen as human shields, and the launch of booby-trapped and remotely piloted boats represent a serious threat to regional and international security. The Supreme Council emphasised the legitimate right to lead the coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen for the implementation of the necessary measures in dealing with these hostile and “terrorist” attacks. It also emphasised the need to prevent the smuggling of weapons to these militias, which constitutes a threat to the freedom of maritime navigation and global trade in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea, praising the efficiency of the Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces in intercepting and fighting those missiles and aircraft, which amounted to more than 344 ballistic missiles and 482 drones.
90. The Supreme Council condemned the continued smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthi militia and recognised the US’s efforts in seizing smuggled Iranian weapons on their way to the Iran-backed Houthi militia during February 2020, in addition to what was seized from smuggled Iranian weapons in November 2019, which corresponds to the remnants of the missiles that were used in the hostile attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, according to the report of the secretary-general of the United Nations on the results of the investigation into these “terrorist” attacks.
91. The Supreme Council confirmed its unwavering positions and decisions regarding Iraq, stressing the importance of preserving the integrity and unity of its territory, sovereignty, Arab identity, social fabric and national unity. It emphasised its support in confronting “terrorist” groups and armed militias, promoting the sovereignty of the state and enforcing the law.
92. The Supreme Council welcomed the formation of the Iraqi government headed by Mr. Mustafa Al-Kazemi, wishing the Iraqi government all the success in achieving the aspirations of the fellow Iraqi people regarding the sovereignty, security and stability of the county.
93. The Supreme Council lauded the efforts made by the GCC member states to enhance cooperation with Iraq in all areas, noting the steps taken to implement the Memorandum of Understanding and the joint action plan for strategic dialogue and the development of relations between the GCC states and the Republic of Iraq.
94. The Supreme Council renewed its support for Security Council Resolution No. 2107 (2013), which was unanimously adopted, the referral of the file of detainees, missing people, Kuwaiti property and the national archives to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which will monitor the situation. The council expressed its wishes to continue cooperation with the Iraqi government to ensure progress in the pending issues mentioned above and calls on the Iraqi government and the United Nations to make the utmost efforts in order to reach a solution towards this humanitarian issue and other related issues, in particular, the completion of the demarcation the maritime border with Iraq after point No. 162.
95. The Supreme Council affirmed its firm positions and decisions regarding the Syrian crisis and the existing political solution based on the principles outlined by the first Geneva Convention, and Security Council Resolution No. 2254, which provides for the formation of a transitional governing body to manage the affairs of the country, draft a new constitution for Syria, and prepare for elections towards achieving a new future for country that fulfills the aspirations of the fellow Syrian people.
96. The Supreme Council expressed its hope that the meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee would quickly produce a consensus, and that this would be helpful towards reaching a political solution for the Syrian crisis and to realise the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. The council reiterated its support for efforts exerted by the UN towards achieving these goals.
97. The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the efforts of the UN’s work to bringing refugees and displaced Syrians back to their cities and villages under international supervision in accordance with international standards, provide them with support in countries of asylum, and reject any attempts to bring about demographic changes in Syria.
98. The Supreme Council affirmed its firm positions towards preserving the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, respecting its independence and sovereignty over its lands, and rejecting regional interference in its internal affairs, and everything that affects Arab national security and threatens international peace and security.
99. The Supreme Council once again condemned the Iranian presence in the Syrian territories and Iran’s interference in the Syrian affairs, and demanded the removal of all Iranian forces, Hezbollah and all sectarian militias that Iran had recruited to operate in Syria.
100. The Supreme Council monitored Lebanon’s developments and emphasised the GCC’s firm positions and decisions regarding Lebanon, and its eagerness to maintain the country’s security, stability and territorial integrity, as well as Arab belonging and independence of its political decision, and the harmony between its people. The council expressed its hope that the Lebanese people will respond to the call of the public interest and deal wisely with the challenges facing the Lebanese state, in order to realise the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people
101. The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the security and stability of the Arab Republic of Egypt, appreciating its efforts in strengthening Arab national security and peace in the region, combating “extremism and terrorism”, promoting the development, prosperity and wellbeing for the fellow Egyptian people, and rejecting interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries. The Council expressed its support for the existing efforts to solve the issue of the Renaissance Dam in a way that meet needs and economic interests of the concerned countries, appreciating the international efforts made in this matter.
102. The Supreme Council affirmed its support for security, stability, and the promotion of development in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and directed to intensify efforts to implement joint action plans that were agreed upon within the framework of the strategic partnership between the Cooperation Council and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
103. The Supreme Council underscored its firm positions and decisions regarding the Libyan crisis, supported the UN efforts to reach a political solution, reiterating the GCC’s eagerness to preserve the interests of the fellow Libyan people, as well as the security, stability and territorial integrity of Libya, and support the efforts made to combat ISIL.
104. The Supreme Council lauded the ceasefire announcement made by both the Presidential Council and the House of Representatives in Libya, expressing its hope for the success of the political dialogue between the Libyan parties, placing the Libyan national interest above all else, and to reach a permanent solution that guarantees security and stability for the fellow Libyan people, and their sovereignty over their land and wealth, in addition to preventing outside interference that would pose risks to the security of the Arab region.
105. The Council affirmed its firm stances towards the brotherly Republic of Sudan and its continuous support for everything that contributes to enhancing its security and stability and realising the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people and their legitimate hopes for stability, development and prosperity, based on the historical and fraternal relations connecting the GCC countries with the Republic of Sudan.
106. The Supreme Council expressed its congratulations to the leadership and people of Sudan on the occasion of reaching the Juba Agreement For peace, stressing the GCC states’ eagerness to continue supporting the efforts aimed at preserving Sudan’s sovereignty, national unity, territorial integrity and protection from outside interference, its Arab and Islamic standing, and its confidence in the ability of the brothers in Sudan to move forward on the path of Peace, overcoming past consequences and making a bright future.
107. The Supreme Council welcomed the removal of Sudan’s name from the US’s list of countries that sponsor “terrorism”, looking forward to its transition to a new stage of development, progress and prosperity, and to exercise its active and constructive role in the international community.
108. The Supreme Council stressed the importance of the strategic partnership between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Kingdom of Morocco and called for the implementation of joint action plans that were agreed upon within the framework of the strategic partnership between them. It also confirmed its firm positions and decisions in support of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, expressing its support for the measures taken by the fellow Kingdom of Morocco to establish freedom of civil and commercial movement in the buffer zone of Guerguerat in the Moroccan Sahara. The council rejected any actions or practices that may affect traffic in this area.
109. The Supreme Council emphasised its firm position on the importance of restoring security and stability in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in a way that realises the hopes and aspirations of the fellow Afghan people, and benefits regional and international peace and security.
110. The Council appreciated the State of Qatar’s efforts in signing the peace agreement between the US and Taliban in February 2020, and facilitating the start of the Afghan peace negotiations in Doha in September 2020, expressing its hopes that these steps would achieve a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire, restore the security and stability of Afghanistan, and fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people towards development and prosperity.
The crisis of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar:
111. The Supreme Council denounced the brutal attacks and systematic displacement against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State and other minorities in Kachin Shan State and other areas in Myanmar. The Supreme Council called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop acts of violence and displacement and to grant the Rohingya Muslim minority their rights without any discrimination or racial profiling, and to facilitate the return of migrants and refugees to their cities and villages.
112. The Council commended the humanitarian aid provided by the GCC states to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and the refugees in Bangladesh, and the help that the United Nations is providing to alleviate the situation, calling on all countries to provide more aid.
Strategic partnerships between the Cooperation Council and other states and groups:
113. The Supreme Council called for strengthening the existing cooperation and partnerships made between the GCC states, regional organisations and active international organisations, and the implementation of joint action plans, in addition to what was agreed upon in the working groups and joint committees that were formed for this purpose.
114. The Supreme Council emphasised giving priority to completing the free trade negotiations in order to enhance the strategic and economic relations of the Council with other countries and regional groups to achieve common interests. The Council instructed the Secretariat General to submit periodic reports on the progress of free trade negotiations between the Cooperation Council and the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and other countries and groups to be agreed upon.
115. The Supreme Council called for strengthening the existing strategic partnerships with fellow countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Iraq.
116. The Supreme Council directed to intensify efforts to strengthening the strategic partnership with the US in all areas, praising the efforts made by the US’s efforts to enhance its presence in the region to improve the security of the region, waterways and freedom of navigation.
117. The Council called for the completion of the implementation of joint action plans, within the framework of the strategic partnership between the Cooperation Council and the UK in all fields, praising the efforts made by the UK to enhance its presence in the region to enhance its security and stability
118. The Council called for the strengthening of strategic relations and economic cooperation with France, Russia, the EU, the European Free Trade Organization (EFTA), the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR), and other countries and active international and regional organisations in the European and the two American continents.
119. The Supreme Council called for the implementation of the necessary procedures, plans and programmes to enhance cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Central Asian States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and other friendly countries and active organisations in the Asian continent.
120. The Supreme Council called for implementation of the necessary measures to complete the action plan on the African continent and joint action plans for cooperation with the states and organisations that are active in it.
The Supreme Council extended its deep appreciation and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, may God protect him, the chairman of the Supreme Council meeting, and to his wise government, and the beloved people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the generous hospitality, kindness, and the sincere feelings of brotherhood that the meeting had.
The Supreme Council welcomed that the 42nd Summit will be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, God willing.
Issued in Al-Ula.
21 Jumada I, 1442 AH, corresponding to January 5, 2021, AD.
- His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
- His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, crown prince, deputy supreme commander and prime minister of Bahrain.
- His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, crown prince, deputy prime minister and minister of defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of the State of Qatar.
- His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, the deputy prime minister for cabinet affairs in the Sultanate of Oman.
- His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the emir of the State of Kuwait.