Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdul-Rahman al-Atiyah has denied reports that the (6+2) meeting that brought together Arab leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week was directed against any entity in the region.
He said in an interview with “Asharq Al-Awsat” that “this meeting was of a purely consultative nature during which the critical issues in the region were discussed.” The US secretary of state met on Tuesday with the GCC foreign ministers in addition to their Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts in Kuwait to mobilize Arab support for President Bush’s new strategy in Iraq.
Al-Atiyah expressed the Gulf countries’ deep concerns about the attempts to paint the Iraqi scene as one of sectarianism and said not a single country in the Arab world had seen such attempts of this size and stressed that Iraq is at present facing a momentum of acts of organized killings, divisions, and fragmentation. He referred to “the struggle between the Iraqi forces over the citizenship right and the absence of competence and capability according to which the powers were supposed to be distributed but this was not done despite the warning calls.” He underlined the need to review the Iraqi constitution saying it has helped in its present shape obscure Iraq’s Arabism and prejudiced the rights of some of the Iraqi spectrum components. He urged all the Iraqi forces to develop the dialogue between them so as to reach an agreement under which the wealth is distributed fairly away from the calls for fragmentation and partition, which he said the Gulf countries reject categorically.
The GCC secretary general reiterated the Gulf countries’ rejection of any foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs and said: “Iraq’s neighboring countries should respect that country’s unity and sovereignty as well as its Arab identity”, in an indirect reference to the Iranian interference in Iraq’s affairs.
Al-Atiyah called on the present Iraqi Government to disband the militias immediately, noting that some of them belong to some political forces in the government and stressed in the same context the need to distinguish between resistance and terror.
On the Iranian nuclear dossier, Al-Atiyah said the undermining of trust between Tehran and some major countries’ capitals cannot be to the advantage of security and stability in the region. He then expressed the Gulf countries’ desire that the Iraqi scenario would not be repeated in any of the GCC’s neighboring countries and also their desire that the Iranian nuclear dossier crisis would come to an end on the basis of dialogue and mutual understanding between Tehran and the international community. He urged the Iranians to continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency while underlining the need for Iran to consider the environmental side effects of its nuclear reactors, especially those sited on the Arab Gulf coast.
Al-Atiyah also underlined the need to pressure Israel and subject all its nuclear installations to inspection and urged the international community to condemn the Israeli nuclear activities and stop double standards in this issue.
On the Lebanese issue, he said that the “Gulf region’s countries are interested in resolving the current Lebanese crisis by reaching results that are satisfactory to all the parties.” He reiterated the Gulf stand of political and economic support for Lebanon away from the cycle of violence and political assassinations.
The Gulf countries and the GCC secretariat will participate in the Paris-3 conference that is scheduled to be held on 25 January. French President Jacques Chirac sent a personal invitation to the GCC secretary general to attend it.
Al-Atiyah asserted that the Gulf countries “will be with Lebanon” in this conference and stressed their support for the Arab efforts made by Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa to heal the rift between the Lebanese parties.