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GCC prepared to put forward Gulf initiative for Syria – Saudi FM | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – In a press conference held in Riyadh on Thursday following the end of the 121st Preparatory Meeting for the 32nd Session of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] Ministerial Council, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal stressed that the GCC does not aim to implement any expansionist interests or special goals, and is committed to not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. However the Saudi Foreign Minister, who is Chairman of the current session of the GCC Ministerial Council, did stress that the GCC is committed to protecting its member states and their people against terrorist plots. Prince Saud al-Faisal asserted that such terrorist plots contradict Islamist values and the principles of international legitimacy.

As for the Syrian crisis, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that the GCC is prepared to put forward an accord similar to the Yemeni initiative. Prince Saud al-Faisal said “The GCC Secretary General is present and the accord is available. If they [Syria] ask for a similar accord [to the Yemeni initiative], we are ready to put it forward. We hope such a development would happen, but you cannot impose anything.”

He added that this is what the Arab League had tried to do, putting forward a “framework” to solve the crisis and calling for a dialogue to discuss this resolution, with Syria initially accepting this, only to later “change” the entire framework of the accord. The Saudi Foreign Minister stressed that this is what led the Arab League Secretary General to ask the ministerial council to convene.

Prince Saud al-Faisal also stressed that “we don’t want to internationalize the issue. We want an Arab solution. We put forward views that we believe are in the interest of Syria and which will put an end to the bloodshed. These ideas include meeting with different parties to reach a political solution that will ensure that the losses that have been made as a result of this fighting never occurs again.” He added “we put forward a solution that we believe will save the country from foreign intervention, and will also save it from the threat of fragmentation and economic collapse, but regrettably there has been no response [from Syria].”

The Saudi Foreign Minister also called for new cooperation and increased coordination between the GCC member states in the wake of the Arab Spring. Prince Saud al-Faisal said “there is an urgent need for cooperation to preserve our region’s security and stability and to ensure natural growth and development…away from foreign intervention.”

As for the crisis currently taking place in Egypt, Prince Saud al-Faisal asserted that “this is an internal Egyptian affair and I have no comment.”

On the assassination plot uncovered against Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal stressed that this represents not just a threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but to diplomatic relations and the international law as a whole, and particularly the Geneva Conventions. He called on the UN to take further action against the Iranians, the alleged architects of the plot.

During the GCC ministerial meeting, Prince Saud al-Faisal warned of the “continued Iranian meddling in the internal affairs of the regional countries.” He also warned that Tehran’s “work to develop nuclear capabilities, which would allow it in the future to possess nuclear weapons, would represent a clear threat to the security and stability of the region.”

Prince Saud al-Faisal also praised Bahrain for the independent and transparent enquiry carried out by a group of prominent statesmen renowned for impartiality into the recent popular unrest in the country. Whilst he also asserted that Riyadh will shortly be sending an ambassador to Libya following the formation of a new government there, adding that relations between Saudi Arabia and Libya will be normalized.