Gulf leaders stress need for joint security, approve establishment of GCC Railways Authority
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Gulf leaders stress need for joint security, approve establishment of GCC Railways Authority

Gulf leaders stress need for joint security, approve establishment of GCC Railways Authority

The GCC Supreme Council also urged for the need to accelerate the establishment of a joint customs union and the GCC Common Market

Leaders from all the six GCC states stressed the need to coordinate their policies and ensure a common economic, defence and security framework at the 42nd GCC Summit on Tuesday in Riyadh.

According to the Riyadh Declaration issued at the end of summit, leaders stressed “the vital need for common foreign policies of member states to build a shared, effective foreign policy” that will avert “regional and international conflicts and interferences in their internal affairs”, official news agency WAM reported.

They also called for strategic integration between common economic, defence and security policies to achieve aspired goals and called member states to commit themselves to collective action under the Joint Defense Agreement to confront common challenges and threats.

During the summit, the GCC Supreme Council also approved the establishment of the GCC Railways Authority, the report said, although no further details were provided. All the Gulf states are currently working on setting up the GCC Rail network which is expected to connect all the six countries by 2025.

The Supreme Council also assigned organisations, councils and ministerial committees, as well as the GCC General Secretariat to accelerate the establishment of the joint customs union and the GCC Common Market, in the lead up to a full economic unity of the GCC by 2025.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who chaired the meeting, said: “We look forward to building a prosperous economy that depends on diversifying sources of income and keeping pace with developments in all fields.”

The annual summit was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Kuwaiti Crown Prince Mishaal Al Jaber Al Sabah and Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Cabinet Affairs of Oman.

Some of the key topics that were discussed include:

Iran

Speaking at the summit, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Iran’s nuclear programme should be handled “seriously and effectively” as global efforts resume to revive the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Saudi Arabia stresses the importance of dealing seriously with the Iranian nuclear issue. We stress the importance of Iraq’s stability, and the importance of reaching a political solution in Yemen,” he said.

He also added that Riyadh supported resolving conflict through dialogue.

Covid-19

Looking at the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, GCC leaders urged for continuing joint cooperation and developing effective policies and strategies to deal with such health emergencies. They also stressed the need to address the pandemic’s economic and social repercussions as well as travel and movement between GCC member states.

Climate change

Addressing the issue of climate change, leaders also called for backing Saudi Arabia’s circular carbon economy strategy launched during its presidency of the G20 to tackle climate change and its impact and achieve sustainability.

The GCC Supreme Council also lauded the efforts made by the UAE to tackle climate change and to offer support to global efforts by hosting the COP28 in Abu Dhabi in 2023.

Digital transformation

GCC heads called for enhancing joint action towards digital transformation and modern technologies, by enhancing cooperation and building alliances in the field of cyber and information security. They also seek to support the role of youth, the private sector and small and medium enterprises and encourage partnerships, projects and initiatives in technology to boost economic diversification.

The 43rd session of the GCC Summit will be held under Oman’s presidency.

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