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Gulf Integration through Saudi Vision - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Jeddah-Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired at King Abdullah International Center for Conferences in Jeddah on Tuesday the concluding session of the 16th consultative meeting of the leaders and heads of delegations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani announced that the GCC leaders approved the formation of a high-level body among the member states called “Commission of Economic and Developmental Affairs.”

This body aims at enhancing integration and coordination among GCC countries in all economic and development fields and accelerate the pace of joint action, he said.

According to al-Zayani, the Commission will follow up the implementation of King Salman’s vision and examine policies, recommendations, studies and projects that contribute to enhancing cooperation, coordination and integration among the member states in economic and developmental sectors.

It will also follow up the implementation of decisions, agreements and regulations adopted by GCC pertaining to economy.

“The GCC leaders also approved the basic law of the Economic Judiciary Commission as mentioned in the economic agreement among the GCC states to serve the interests of the GCC citizens and enable them to benefit from integrated projects and agreements among the member states,” he stated.

Al-Zayani added that the leaders also agreed to hold joint regular meetings of the GCC ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs in order to coordinate policies among the member states and take appropriate decisions.

Addressing the press conference, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the Commission would be granted powers to take decisions on various issues.

“This body will come out with solutions for economic problems and will present these solutions in front of the GCC leaders directly for their approval.”

“The idea is that there would be an active mechanism to take necessary decisions so as to materialize economic integration among the member states,” he said while pointing out that this Commission represents a quantum leap regarding the economic and financial issues among the GCC states.

Al-Jubeir said the Commission would reduce the long procedures to the minimum in taking decisions on key financial and economic issues.

“In the past such issues were handled by the ministerial level committees. Then these committees refer them to the ministries, and the ministries forward them to the Cabinet so that the Cabinet submits them to the head of state.”

On the other hand, al-Jubeir said the Kingdom demands sending ground troops to Syria to save the Syrians.

“The Kingdom sees ground intervention is an inevitable step to find a solution to the Syrian tragedy. The Kingdom is still ready to participate in an international ground troop mission; led by the United States and other allies.”

Al-Jubeir blamed Iran for sponsoring terror and interfering in the internal affairs of neighboring states.

“The GCC states hope that Iran would stop interfering in the affairs of the region, through supporting terrorism, planting terrorist cells and spreading sectarian militias in the region to undermine the security and stability of the countries.”

He emphasized that the GCC states cannot have normal relations with a state that “has no goal but to destroy us, plant cells and smuggle explosives into our allies, in order to destabilize the region.

“Our doors will be open to build better relations with Iran, being a neighboring Islamic state, when it stops such acts, changes its policies and adheres to the principle of good neighborliness and non-interference in the affairs of others,” he added.

On the Russian guarantees for non-Iranian interference in the Gulf States’ internal affairs, al-Jubeir explained that Russia has nothing to do with this.

Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement regarding the revival of 2002 Arab peace initiative, al-Jubeir said that it is too early to evaluate the seriousness of Israel in this respect.

“When the Israeli prime minister talked about the initiative, he was talking about some of provisions which are positive in his point of view, but he did not accept the Arab initiative as published in the media.”

“However, what is more important is to resume negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Israelis were rejecting the negotiations initiated by the U.S.-Quartet,” Jubeir noted.

Regarding Yemeni issue, Jubeir said that negotiations are going on in Kuwait on the basis of the GCC Initiative and the U.N. Security Council resolution.

On the Saudi role in the establishment of peace in Yemen, Jubeir pointed out that Saudi efforts in Yemen have begun several years ago with the conviction that the solution in Yemen must be peacefully based on Security Council resolution 2216, the national dialogue and the GCC initiative.

On Libyan Unity Government, the Saudi minister confirmed that it is a legitimate government.

“There are international efforts to bring closer leaders of various Libyan groups to resolve the conflict in the strife-torn country,” he added.