The 42nd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states concluded at Diriyah Palace here on Tuesday with a call for greater economic and defense integration and reiterating its commitment for collective action against all threats and challenges.
The summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, agreed to unify political stances and develop political partnerships; at the regional and international levels with a focus to avoid regional and international conflicts. Besides, meeting the aspirations of the GCC citizens and safeguard their interests. The GCC leaders affirmed the importance of achieving economic unity as well as joint defense and security system; and coordination of stances in order to enhance solidarity and stability of the six member states; according to the final communique (Riyadh Declaration), read out by GCC Secretary General Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf at the end of the session. The Crown Prince hosted a banquet dinner in honor of the Gulf leaders and heads of delegations; while Oman assumed the presidency of the next session of the GCC Supreme Council.
The Riyadh Declaration stated that the summit agreed on principles and policies to develop strategic cooperation; as well as economic and development integration among the GCC states and achieve the aspirations of the GCC citizens. Al-Hajraf said the GCC leaders stressed the importance of accurate; complete; and continuous implementation of the vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. The leaders affirmed the contents of Article 2 of the Joint Defense Agreement; the GCC member states consider that any attack against any of the GCC states is an attack on all of them. "Any danger that threatens one of them threatens all of them," the declaration said.
The GCC leaders stressed the importance of concerted efforts to coordinate and integrate the foreign policies of the member states. This is in order to crystallize a unified and effective foreign policy that serves the aspirations of the peoples of the GCC countries, preserves their interests and gains, avoids regional and international conflicts or interference in their internal affairs, and achieves support and strategic interdependence among the common economic, defense and security policies to achieve common goals and aspirations.
The GCC leaders stressed the importance of enhancing the joint cooperation and coordinating plans aimed at achieving sustainability and dealing with climate change and its effects, promoting joint action among the GCC states to implement the circular carbon economy approach which was launched by Saudi Arabia during its presidency of the G20. The approach was approved by the G20 as an integrated and comprehensive framework to address the challenges arising from greenhouse gas emissions and their management through the available and innovative technologies, and following up the implementation of initiatives, projects and mechanisms launched by the GCC countries in this field.
The relevant committees are assigned to put the necessary mechanisms to achieve the best results related to protecting the environment and benefiting from the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives, launched by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and strengthening the joint Gulf efforts to confront the environmental challenges, raise vegetation cover, increase reliance on clean technologies for all energy sources, combat pollution and preserve environmental life in all its forms to achieve the best and decent livelihood for its people. This is in line with the conditions and priorities of the member states and their development plans, and the global goals for sustainable development.
The GCC leaders stressed the importance of achieving economic diversification as well as maximizing the benefit from the economic potentials and distinguished opportunities to double the joint investments and develop the integration of the road, rail and communications networks among the GCC countries. They also underscored the need to support and strengthen national industries, accelerate their growth, provide the necessary protection for them, raise their competitiveness and access to a leading industrial position capable of competing globally, and remove all obstacles and difficulties facing the implementation of the joint economic action.
They stressed the importance of enhancing joint cooperation to continue combating the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Besides, supporting collective action to combat the epidemics and diseases in future so as to help combat them; and deal with their economic and social repercussions, travel conditions, and movement among the GCC countries.
The GCC leaders pledged to support and enhance the role of the GCC women in economic development programs and their participation in the joint GCC action; encouraging the role of youths in the financial and business sectors and developing relief, humanitarian and voluntary work.
They stressed the importance of enhancing joint action towards digital transformation and modern technologies. Besides, strengthening cooperation and building alliances in the field of cyber and information security. The leaders also highlighted the significance of supporting the role of youths; the private sector and small and medium enterprises in the growth of economic diversification and digital transformation. Besides, encouraging partnerships, projects and initiatives in this field, the communiqué said.
At the end of the session; Deputy Prime Minister of Oman Sayyid Fahd Al-Said welcomed the assumption of the presidency of the next session of the GCC Supreme Council by his country. He thanked Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman for the great role he is playing; and the effort he is undertaking for the interest of the GCC and its member states. He also greeted the Gulf leaders; saying, "I am pleased to extend the greetings of the Sultan of Oman to all of you; and the greetings of the Omani government and the people; who have all the appreciation of you and your peoples."