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GCC Ministers Discuss Regional Security | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz, Saudi second deputy prime minister and interior minister, has cautioned his Gulf counterparts of the danger of inciting one party against another in a country like Iraq, noting that such incitement would affect security in Iraq, the region, and beyond.

Prince Naif, who chaired the Saudi delegation to the 10th meeting of the GGC interior ministers in Riyadh, said that there is still a security crisis in Iraq and that this situation requires neighboring countries to take a public stand in the interest of the unity and stability of that country and the safety of the Iraqi people and their resources. He added: “We must all cooperate to spare Iraq and the region the dangers of the continuing cycle of violence, killing, and destruction in Iraq and their present and future grave consequences in view of the importance of this region. The situation in Iraq will have repercussions on Arab, regional and international peace and security.”

Prince Naif said that the meeting of the Gulf interior ministers “comes amid regional and international developments that affect the security and stability of the regional countries.” He stressed that the fast pace of regional and international developments and regional security “require us to make a reviewer the situation and to hold consultations within the context of the mechanisms, plans, and programs that serve our joint security. We are required to implement our leaders’ instructions, meet the security and stability requirements of our peoples, act effectively and competently, and make every possible effort to achieve our cherished goals.”

Prince Naif praised the successes achieved at the 11th summit of the GCC leaders held in Riyadh last week under the chairmanship of King Abdullah Bin-Abdulaziz, the custodian of the two holy mosques. He said that these successes will further enhance the Gulf States’ joint cooperation in keeping with the strategic importance of these states, which are the focus of the whole world.

Prince Naif emphasized that the Gulf States are doing what they can to boost relations with Iraq. He noted that the Al-Qaeda organization in Saudi Arabia is capable of adjusting to changes in the situation. He added: “Al-Qaeda elements may come to us seeking to commit acts that are different from what they had previously done. It is true that we have captured sleeping cells affiliated with Al-Qaeda, but we cannot rule out the possibility that there are still other cells, which we hope to capture soon.” He attributed the Saudi security forces’ success in hunting down terrorists to the bravery and professionalism of the security men in handling terrorists.” Not only have they been motivated by patriotic sentiments, but they have knowledge and capability of handling such situations, he said.

Prince Naif denied knowledge of information that Saudi Arabia extradited a wanted man to Egypt related to the latest Hezbollah cell, saying: “I do not know where this news came from.”

Discussing the remaining Saudi nationals held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Prince Naif voiced his hope that it will not be long before those detainees are extradited to Saudi Arabia. He asserted that Saudi Arabia stands with Yemen [in confronting] the recent incidents in some Yemeni governorates. He said: “We cooperate with Yemen without reservation in this respect.”

It should be recalled that the interior ministers of the six Gulf States held a meeting in Riyadh yesterday and discussed combating piracy and boosting their joint efforts in this regard in the wake of the growing phenomenon of piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The Gulf interior ministers arrived in the Saudi capital to take part in their 10th meeting for consultation. The meeting was chaired by Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz, the second deputy prime minister and interior Minster. According to available information, the meeting focused on combating piracy and drug trafficking.

The consultation meeting of the interior ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, and Oman was held to enhance and coordinate the efforts of the GCC member states and strengthen their joint security efforts to ensure security and stability on the national and regional levels.

The GCC Secretary General, Abdul-Rahman al-Atiyah, said that this meeting provided an important opportunity for the GCC interior ministers to exchange views and hold consultations over issues relating to developments in the joint security cooperation. He added that they followed up the steps that have been taken to implement resolutions relating to security cooperation. They also exchanged views on intensifying coordination and consultation among the security agencies of the GCC states.

According to Al-Atiyah, the GCC interior ministers focused on the security dimension, the current situation in the region, and ways of improving performance of security functions and fortifying the Gulf societies against any negative phenomena. He stressed that the GCC’s security efforts “transcend confronting security issues, and the GCC interior ministers are empowered to makes decision on boosting communication and rapport among the GCC member states.” He praised the achievements made and the practical steps taken to allow the citizens of the GCC states to travel between their countries on ID cards instead of passports. He expressed his hope that this step will be followed by other steps among all GCC states to achieve Gulf citizenship, which the GCC leaders have emphasized for along time.