Unofficial translation of
The Closing Statement of
the Twenty Fifth Session of the GCC Supreme Council( Zayed Summit)
Al-Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
9 Dhul-Qa’dah 1425 AH / 21 December 2004 AD
In response to the gracious invitation of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Supreme Council held its 25th session in the city of Al-Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, on Monday and Tuesday, 8-9 Dhul-Qa’dah 1425 AH corresponding to 20-21 December 2004 AD. The session was held under the presidency of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council, and was attended by Their Highnesses and Excellencies:
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
President of the State of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector-General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed
Sultan of the Sultanate of Oman
His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar
His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait
His Excellency Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) also participated in the meeting.
The Supreme Council expressed sincere compliments and wishes to His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, his prudent government and his beloved people on the occasion of the 33rd National Day, wishing the Kingdom of Bahrain and its people enduring progress and prosperity.
The Supreme Council expressed feelings of deep sorrow and sadness at the demise of His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the State of the United Arab Emirates (May Allah encompass him with His abundant Mercy and Pleasure). His Highness departed to the vicinity of his Lord after a life filled with great works and grand achievements, and a journey full of genuine contributions and sincere, persistent , and benign endeavours that were good for the State of the UAE, its progress, well being and the prosperity of its people. The Council presented sincere condolences and consolation to the Sate of the UAE—leadership, government, and people—and the Arab and the Islamic communities at this momentous loss. The Supreme Council also expressed genuine regard for the role of the deceased in aiding the progress of the GCC, his grand contribution in its inception, his efforts in the service of the cause of the Arab and the Islamic communities and the peace of the region and the world. The Council approved the initiative of His Majesty King Hamad bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain to name the 25th session of the Supreme Council of the GCC as the “Zayed Summit”.
The Supreme Council welcomed His Highness Shiekh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the State of the United Arab Emirates and expressed full confidence that His Highness will reinforce, through his wisdom, the active participation of the State of the UAE in strengthening the blessed process of the GCC.
Likewise, the Supreme Council also expressed feelings of deep sorrow and sadness at the demise of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who passed away to the vicinity of his Lord after a life filled with struggle for the restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and for the establishment of an independent State on its national soil. The Council expressed sincere condolences and consolation to the Palestinian people and the Arab and the Islamic communities at this momentous loss. May Allah encompass the deceased with his abundant mercy, and place him in His vast Heavens.
The Supreme Council reviewed the accomplishments of the joint process of cooperation since its last session in all fields, undertaking a thorough review of the political and security issues at the regional and international levels in light of the developments and events taking place in the Gulf region and the world.
Desirous of reinforcing the joint cooperation process, the Supreme Council reviewed the follow-up reports and recommendations submitted by the Ministerial Council and took necessary decisions accordingly in the following manner:
With a view to supporting the gulf citizenship and to provide insurance protection to the GCC citizens who work outside their countries in other GCC States, the Council approved that which the competent committees arrived at with regard to extending the insurance umbrella of the retirement and social insurance institutions to cover the GCC citizens working outside their countries in other GCC States as therein lies the social security for them and their families.
In this connection, the Supreme Council welcomed the Law issued by His Highness King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, which allows the GCC citizens— natural and naturalized—to engage in economic activities and professions agreed upon within the framework of the Council, considering that supportive of the joint process of cooperation and gulf citizenship.
The Supreme Council examined the findings of the preliminary economic feasibility studies on constructing railway network project. The project would interlink the GCC States, facilitate the movement of the citizens, and strengthen the movement and flow of trade between the GCC States. The Council also looked into the joint water grid project and gave directions to complete the remaining necessary studies pertaining to the two projects.
The Council studied the report on the status of the implementation of the smart card project for the GCC States. The smart card would be like a national identity card for the GCC citizens. The Council gave directions to complete the project and to evolve appropriate mechanisms for its implementation in the GCC States.
With the objective of integrating and unifying economic regulations and policies of the GCC States, the Council approved a number of unified laws in the fields of agriculture and industry, including the Unified Industrial Law for the GCC States. The most important aims of the Unified Industrial Law are to encourage and develop the industrial projects, to raise the contribution of the industrial sector in the GDP, and to expand the bases of economic linkage in the GCC States.
With regard to the economic relations of the GCC States with other countries and international blocs, the Supreme Council took cognisance of the developments that took place in this connection in the year 2004, as well as the agreements signed for the establishment of the Free Trade Area(FTA) and the Framework Agreements for Economic Cooperation between the GCC States and other countries and international groupings.
Based on the importance of dealing with the effects resulting from the increase in the number of foreign workers in the Member States, the Supreme Council perused the Memorandum of the Secretariat-General on this subject and approved the concepts and proposals to deal with the effects of the foreign workers, considering it to be vital subject in light of the economic, social and progress related developments.
Conscience of the importance of protecting environment and natural resources, the Supreme Council approved the Unified Environmental Standards and Measures related to noise, quality of air and wastewater, as they constitute the basic minimum of the legislations that must be adopted while preparing or developing the national standards and measures in the GCC states.
In the field of protecting marine environment from pollution, the Supreme Council affirmed the need to speed-up the establishment of facilities for the reception of balance water and the need to accede to the MARPOL (Marine Pollution) Conventions of 1973 and 1978.
With a view to activating the joint environmental process, the Supreme Council gave directions to expedite the coordination and execution plans to push the joint environmental process towards the desired goals, affirming that the conservation of environment and its natural resources, and the protection of wild life and its development, have become an indispensable need in achieving sustainable development, which aims at improving the quality of life of human life and welfare in the GCC States. The Supreme Council invited the competent quarters to translate the environmental rules, regulations, standards and measures into practicable programs implemented in accordance with development plans, focusing on training the national cadre, and on intensification of awareness programs through the mass-media, educational curricula, and strengthening the cooperation and coordination between various specialized environmental bodies in the GCC States, international and regional institutions and organizations in order to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
Similarly, the Supreme Council perused the follow-up report on its decision on the comprehensive development of education, and asserted that implementation of the resolutions of the Supreme Council should be given top priority. The Council directed the competent committees on the need to implement the plans and programs contained in the relevant resolutions that have been issued in this regard, and on the need to put into place appropriate mechanisms for their implementation.
Based on the desire of their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the GCC States to strengthen legal cooperation, the Supreme Council approved the Kuwait Document on the Unified Law for the Care of the Wealth of the Minors and those who come under this category, as a model law for a period of four years.
The Supreme Council also approved the extension of the validity of the Muscat Document on the Unified Personal Laws as a model Law for a period of another four years in order to give the Member States more time to benefit from it. Likewise, the Supreme Council also decided to extend the validity of the Riyadh Document on the Unified Law for the Penal Procedures of the GCC States as a model law until its review and approval in its final form.
In the field of military cooperation and coordination, the Council perused the outcomes of the third periodic meeting of the Joint Defence Council, and approved those outcomes. The Council also agreed to introduce the decoration granted to the staff of the Dir'a Al-Jazeerah (Peninsula Shield) forces which belong to the GCC countries. This shall be done in accordance with specific procedural controls .The Council expressed its satisfaction at the progress made in the various fields of military cooperation, and at the steps that have been taken and the achievements that have been made in this connection.
In view of the importance of strengthening coordination and cooperation in the field of security, the Council reviewed a detailed report on the measures taken by the Member States, exchange of information between them, as well as the ongoing coordination between various security bodies in implementation of the relevant resolutions, the latest being the decisions of their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Interior in their twenty-third meeting held in October 2004 in the State of Kuwait. The Council expressed satisfaction at the efforts and the achievements that have been made in the field of security cooperation.
The Supreme Council reviewed the dangerous terrorist operations taking place in the world, both at the regional and international levels. In this context, the Supreme Council renewed its condemnation and rejection of all types of terrorism, irrespective of the place of occurrence, sources, motivations and pretexts. It affirmed at the same time the fundamentals of the unequivocal position of the GCC with regard to combating and preventing the phenomenon of terrorism, and on drying-off the sources that finance it with all available means and dealing with its causes and motivations locally, regionally and internationally. The Council emphasized the need to differentiate between terrorism and the legitimate rights of the peoples to struggle against occupation in accordance with the resolutions of international legality.
In this context, the Council expressed its condemnation of the terrorist operation that targeted the US Consulate in the Jeddah Protectorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The terrorist attack caused the death of a number of innocents. The Council expressed sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims and lauded the capability of the armed forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in dealing effectively with the situation and ending it speedily and resolutely.
The Council renewed its absolute support and solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its endeavours and all the measures it is taking to safeguard its security and stability and in eliminating the perverted group. This perverted group adopts the criminal, terrorist acts as its methodology, which has been rejected by all religious laws, humane principles, fundamentals and morals. It asserted that the true Islam is based on the foundations of justice, benevolence, toleration. Islam forbids all acts that target the innocents and cause them harm as a result. This is because Islam protects the innocent people and prohibits killing, threatening or torturing them.
In affirmation of the support of the GCC States for the regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism, the Supreme Council welcomed the hosting by the Kingdom of Bahrain of the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terror Financing.
With regard to the works of the Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council, the Supreme Council studied the views of the Consultative Commission on the role of the private sector in strengthening the links between the people of the GCC , the obstructions that hinder the commercial exchange between the GCC States, and the issues of the youth and the means of their welfare . The Council decided to approve these views and refer them to the competent Ministerial Committees so that they may evolve necessary mechanisms to implement them. The Council agreed that the Commission should continue to study the subject of evaluating the GCC process over the past twenty-three years. Similarly, the Council assigned the Commission to study the phenomenon of terrorism for the next session.
In connection with Media Cooperation, the Supreme Council examined the process of media cooperation between the GCC States and passed directives to adopt the mechanisms proposed by the Ministers of Information in implementation of the recommendations of the Consultative Commission with regard to media related issues which were approved by the Supreme Council in its 22nd session held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Concerning the continued occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of the three islands—the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa— which belong to the State of the United Arab Emirates , the Supreme Council affirmed its firm and well-known stands which have been reiterated by all the previous statements that support the right of the State of the United Arab Emirates to sovereignty over her three islands: the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs, and Abu Musa, and over the territorial waters, the airspace, the continental shelf, and the economic zone of the three islands, as they are an integral part of the State of the United Arab Emirates.
Further, the Supreme Council expressed disappointment at the lack of any outcomes as a result of the contacts made with the Islamic Republic of Iran, outcomes that would actively contribute to the resolution of the issue, leading to the security and stability of the region.
The Supreme Council also affirmed the continuation of the act of looking into all peaceful means that would lead to the restoration of UAE's right on the three islands, and that the Islamic Republic of Iran should respond to the efforts of the UAE and the international community in solving the issue by peaceful means or taking recourse to the International Court of Justice.
The Council examined the continued lack of stability and security and the extent of its repercussions on the on the internal situation of brotherly Iraq. The Council expressed its concern, in particular, at that which afflicts the Iraqi people and the Iraqi infrastructure and aggravation of the sufferings of the brotherly people of Iraq. In this connection, the Supreme Council reiterated the fundamentals of its positions which have been expressed in its previous statements, and its rejection of everything that could lead to the partition of Iraq, and the need to preserve the sovereignty of Iraq, its independence and the integrity of its soil, and the need to avoid intervention in its internal affairs, inviting other sides to follow the same principle.
The Supreme Council expressed hope that the American Administration would work actively with the UN and the international community in all efforts aimed at enabling all sections of the Iraqi people in contributing to the political process represented by the holding of elections which would help the Iraqi people to decide their political and economic future and bring about security and stability so that Iraq becomes an active and positive member in the Gulf, Arab and international environment in accordance with the UN resolution 1546.
As part of the desire of the leaders of the GCC States to realize the aspirations of the Iraqi people, the Supreme Council condemned the explosions and the terrorist activities that target the civilians and humanitarian and religious institutions as well as the kidnapping of innocents and their torture. Furthermore, the Supreme Council expressed its sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims of these crimes and affirmed its solidarity with their countries. The Supreme Council also condemned the genocide of the Iraqis and the Kuwaiti prisoners and detainees as well as the subjects of other nations by the previous Iraqi regime as has been discovered from the mass graves, constituting blatant and gross violation of human rights, Islamic and moral principles and Arab values.
The Council reiterated its appeal to UN to cooperate with the interim Iraqi government in exerting the necessary efforts to find a final solution about the restoration of Kuwaiti assets and national archives, which were confiscated by the previous Iraqi regime during its occupation of the State of Kuwait.
The Supreme Council examined the developments taking place in the Palestinian arena and the persistence of the Israeli government in perpetrating aggression against the innocent Palestinian people, thereby challenging the international conventions, instruments and resolutions of international legality and ignoring the Arab and international peace initiatives and placing all the hindrances in the attempts to revive the peace process.
The Supreme Council lauded the wisdom and sense of responsibility demonstrated by the Palestinian leadership in the transfer of authority with all ease. This strengthened the internal security, reinforced the legitimacy and the role of the political institutions, and consolidated the Palestinian unity. The Council emphasized the need for and the importance of harnessing the favourable conditions and the available opportunities in the service of its just cause, in a manner that would enable it to restore its legitimate rights including the establishment of its independent state on its national soil with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Supreme Council expressed its wishes for the success of the Palestinian leadership in continuing the cooperation and mutual aid in meeting the future challenges.
The Supreme Council also expressed its hope that the H.E. George Bush would , during his second presidential term, give the Middle East issue topmost priority in the US foreign policy , so that it would lead to the fulfilment of commitments and promises for establishing a viable Palestinian State living in security and peace side by side with Israel. The Supreme Council also expressed its hope that the international quartet would continue to exert efforts towards activating the Middle East Peace Process in accordance with the bases and requirements set forth in the roadmap and the Arab initiative, in addition to its efforts aimed at creating favourable atmosphere to facilitate the progress of the Palestinian political process.
The Supreme Council demanded from Israel to withdraw completely from all occupied Arab territories in Palestine as well as from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the line of 4th July 1967, as well as from Shaba farms in Southern Lebanon.
The Supreme Council affirmed the support the GCC States to the political and economic stability and security in Lebanon, condemning the Israeli attacks on its sovereignty and independence.
The Supreme Council affirmed its desire to make the Middle East region, including the Gulf region, free from all weapons of mass destruction, and to put pressure on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to subject all its nuclear installations to the international system of inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA), and to consider it a fundamental condition in any future security arrangements.
The Supreme Council expressed its appreciation of the enormous efforts being made by the Secretary-General and his active contribution in the progress of the Council and resolved to renew the appointment of the His Excellency Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah as Secretary-General of the GCC for a period of another three years beginning from April 1, 2005 , wishing His Excellency success in his functions during the next tenure.
As part of the desire of the GCC States and their continuous efforts to complete the ongoing political, economic and social process in their States, the Supreme Council affirmed the position and vision of the GCC States and the Arabian position that was stated by Arab Summit declaration which was held recently in Tunis. The declaration stressed on the need to understand that development and modernization should emanate from within the countries of the region, and that the characteristics and conditions of these countries should be considered from the political, economic, social , cultural and religious perspectives. The gradual harvesting of the fruits of this development and modernization would improve the chances of stability, security and prosperity in the region.
The Supreme Council expressed its immense appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah , Emir of the State of Kuwait and his prudent government for the genuine and sincere efforts during the period of presidency of His Highness of the 24th session of the GCC , expanding the joint action to broader avenues and horizons and taking it towards greater progress and prosperity for the peoples of the region.
The Supreme Council also expressed its appreciation and gratitude to His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the President of the current session of the Supreme Council, his government and generous people for their kind reception and generous hospitality and the sense of fraternity with which his brothers, the leaders of the GCC States were received. The leaders extolled the attention bestowed and the care taken by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the President of the current session, for these meetings and his wise administration which had great impact in arriving at important outcomes and decisions, expressing their confidence that the Kingdom of Bahrain, during its presidency of this session will contribute towards strengthening the benign process of the Council, and expand its horizons in light of the prevailing local, regional and international situation , wherewith the ambitions and aspirations of the people of the GCC States would be realized.
The Supreme Council looks forward to meeting in its 26th session., Allah Willing, in the State of the United Arab Emirates in the month of Dhul-Qa'da 1426AH, corresponding to December 2005 based on the gracious invitation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the State of the United Arab Emirates.
Issued in Al-Manama
Tuesday, 9 Dhul-Qa’dah 1425 AH / 21 December 2004 AD