Abu Dhabi, Asharq Al-Awsat- The foreign ministers of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held a meeting in Abu Dhabi last night within the framework of the preparations for the upcoming GCC summit that is scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi on 18 December.
GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman Al Atiyah told "Asharq al-Awsat" that the ministers studied the reports prepared by the various ministerial cooperation committees that cover broad fields of joint Gulf action and also reviewed a preparatory report by the secretary general on what the GCC did since the end of its last session in Manama and the new one in Abu Dhabi. He will present a final report on this to the upcoming summit.
Al-Atiyah said the economic issues occupy an important part of the upcoming Abu Dhabi summit and pointed out in particular to the issue of completing the requirements and mechanisms for the common Gulf market and the timetable for the monetary union between the GCC countries which is scheduled to be implemented in 2010. He also pointed out that the summit would look into a number of integration projects, such as the water grid, building a railroad network, and other projects.
Regarding the political issues that the summit will discuss, he said that the ministerial council reviewed the various current issues so as to formulate the GCC countries” stand on them within the framework of the political constants and principles that govern its action. He noted that the Palestinian issue continues to preoccupy the GCC countries and stressed that they take a unified stand that backs the Palestinian people”s legitimate rights within the framework of the international resolutions and the obligations and pledges with the Palestinian side. The GCC secretary general criticized the Israeli policy and said it does not indicate any credibility in dealing with the peace process but is pressing ahead with its plans to evade and prevaricate every time the peaceful process nears a turning point that brings the region closer to peace and stability.
Regarding the GCC countries” stand on the international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and the situation that Syria is facing in this issue, Al-Atiyah said the GCC countries followed up this issue from the beginning and stressed that they are concerned about Syria”s stability as much as they are concerned about Lebanon”s security and stability. He added that the GCC is eager to maintain the historic brotherly relations between Syria and Lebanon as these relations are bound to deal with all the crises that they face. He added that while the GCC countries underline their respect for international legitimacy and the need to cooperate fully with the international judicial investigations, they also appreciate and encourage what Syria has demonstrated for the sake of reaching the truth in the assassination of late Prime Minister Al-Hariri.