Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced that the Gulf States were standing by Saudi Arabia, in opposition to the Iranian attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, and its consulate in Mashhad.
Al-Attiyah, speaking to reporters in Riyadh yesterday shortly before his departure to Abu Dhabi, believed that the attack witnessed by the Saudi diplomatic mission in Mashhad was a “flagrant violation” of the Vienna Convention, which governs diplomatic relations between states.
The Secretary General of the GCC strongly condemned the attacks against the headquarters of the Saudi diplomatic mission operating on Iranian territory.
With regards to the incidents, al-Attiyah said: “we completely reject this attack. It is contrary to international laws and conventions, and is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention, governing diplomatic relations between states”.
Al-Attiyah confirmed that the GCC would stand by Saudi Arabia against such attacks, saying: “we, the GCC, stand with Saudi Arabia and whatever action they choose to adopt in this regard”.
Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic mission was attacked by Iranian demonstrators, amidst the backdrop of intensifying Iranian allegations of “Saudi interference” in Bahrain.
However, Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah saluted the role played by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, in the context of consolidating security and stability in the Arab Gulf, alluding to the situation in Bahrain. He said that Riyadh, along with its Gulf allies, had undertaken a courageous stand in order to maintain the security and stability of Bahrain.
The Secretary General of the GCC described talk of the Joint Peninsula Shield Force entering into clashes with protestors as agenda-driven.
In response to allegations that the Joint Peninsula Shield Force had clashed with Bahraini protestors, al-Attiyah said: “In reality these allegations have been repeated a lot, we hear of them through biased media stations and news agencies, and they are not related to the truth”.
Al-Attiyah described the task delegated to the Joint Peninsula Shied Force, saying: “the [Joint Peninsula Shield] Force entered Bahrain under the defense cooperation pact which it is governed by, in order to protect institutions. Its mission is strategic in nature; it does not interfere with internal security. Bahrain’s security forces are ready and able to maintain security, stability, and civil peace”.
With regards to the situation on the ground, the GCC Secretary General pointed out that matters in Bahrain were returning to normal, after “external interference” had ceased. Here he did not name specific parties, yet Iran is believed to have played a role in fueling the Bahraini opposition, and provoking them to carry out general civic disobedience.
Al-Attiyah told reporters yesterday: “Bahraini affairs should be conducted under the guidance of King Mohammed bin Isa al-Khalifa, and we hope that the dialogue called for by the King, and undertaken by the Crown Prince, will achieve security and stability, and restore matters to normal. The King has resolved many issues [in the past], either through his wise vision for a reform project which he called for 10 years ago, or through what the Crown Prince has achieved with national dialogue”.
Al-Attiyah stressed that calm was returning to Bahrain, with the end of external interference into Bahraini affairs, saying: “I hope that things will return to how they were, after the intervention in Bahraini affairs has ceased, which was manifested in the sit-ins and protests. We believe that such sit-ins and protests were not in the interests of the security and stability of Bahrain. We appreciate and value the King’s call to engage in national dialogue”.
With regards to the meeting that was attended by al-Attiyah, along with the King of Bahrain and the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, on the eve of the arrival of the Joint Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain, the GCC Secretary General said: “the GCC, either through the meeting conducted by the King of Bahrain and attended by the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, or otherwise, has done everything in the interests of security and stability in Bahrain. There is nothing more than the member states seek to do in this regard, and they have been dedicated to this issue in all events and forums”.
The GCC Secretary General made these comments to the press as he ceremonially laid the foundation stone for the expansion of the Secretariat headquarters, which were built in 1986. He also laid the foundation stone for a new “Intellectual Property Training Centre” at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.