Unofficial translation of
The Closing Statement of the
Twenty-sixth Session of the Supreme Council of the
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)
Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates (UAE)
16 – 17 Dhul Qada 1426 AH / 18 – 19 December 2005 AD
King Fahad Summit
In response to the gracious invitation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, President of the UAE, the Supreme Council held its 26th session in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Sunday and Monday 16-17 Dhul Qada 1426 AH corresponding to 18-19 December 2005 AD. The meeting was chaired by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, President of the UAE and the Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council in the presence of their Majesties and Highnesses:
His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al-Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
King of Saudi Arabia
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed
Sultan 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
H.E. Abdur Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the GCC Secretary-General also participated in the meeting.
Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the blessed launch of the GCC from Abu Dhabi under the auspices of late sagacious leader Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, the UAE capital once again hosted this august meeting with pride and honor in the grand achievements of this great edifice(GCC) during the reign of the worthy successor to the worthy predecessor. On this occasion, the Council expressed sincere gratitude and honor at the contributions of the founding leaders, whose memory shall remain eternally imbued within the conscience of this grand process and its sublime goals; may Allah have mercy on them, and grant them the best of rewards for their selfless contribution to development and construction of their homelands, their dedicated concern for maintaining peace and security of the Member States and their peoples, their efforts in promoting the just causes of the Arab and Islamic nations, and for advancing peace in the region and the world. The leaders of the GCC States asserted their relentless resolve and determination to push forward the blessed march of joint cooperation wherewith to accomplish more successes in various fields with a view to realizing the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the GCC.
The Supreme Council also expressed grief and condolence at the sad demise of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the great loss his passing away represents for the Arab and Islamic nations. The Council expressed appreciation for the late monarch's glorious achievements and his magnificent contributions towards fostering the advancement of the GCC, thereby actualizing the hopes and aspirations of the Member States and their peoples. It also lauded the role of the departed leader—May Allah Have Mercy on him—in serving the Arab, Islamic and international causes.
The Supreme Council welcomed the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia who—May Allah Preserve Him—personifies the uninterrupted reign of Saudi Arabia's course of development, contributions and glory. His Majesty also embodies the sustained support to the progress of the GCC, achievement of its political goals, maintenance of security of the GCC States, and reinforcement of the foundations of the GCC, along with his brothers the leaders of the GCC States, with a view to consolidating stability and prosperity for the peoples of the region.
The Supreme Council welcomed Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organization(WTO), affirming that the accession would be beneficial for and supportive to the GCC process, and would act as be an important factor in the stability of the world economy.
The Council lauded the results of the proceedings of the Third Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference(OIC) held in Makkah Al Mukarramah on 5-6 Dhul Qa’adah 1426 AH (7-8 December 2005). It praised the Makkah Declaration and the Final Communiqué which was issued at the end of the summit and contains all that is good for the progress of the Member States of the OIC.
The Supreme Council expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, during its presidency of G-77 and China. It also expressed satisfaction with the results of the Second South Summit held in Doha in June 2005.
The Council reviewed the achievements of the Member States the process of development and modernization, as well as their accomplishments in economic, political, educational, and social fields. The Council recalled and reiterated the pronouncements of the Manama Declaration, issued at the Zayed Summit which was convened last year in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The declaration emphasized the importance of persisting with modernization and comprehensive development in order to keep pace with the age and its basic requirements. This should be done in a gradual manner to harvest the fruits of the process that should emanate from national identity, history and heritage of the region. This is to ensure that the process achieves its goals and contributes towards realizing security, stability, and prosperity for the GCC States and its peoples.
The Supreme Council considered the accomplishments of the joint process in all fields since the last session, and undertook a thorough assessment of the political, security, regional, and international issues in light of the major events and rapid developments taking place in the region and the world.
Based on the keen desire of the leaders of the GCC States to reinforce the joint process of the Council and to push it to greater and more inclusive horizons, the Supreme Council reviewed the follow-up reports submitted by the Ministerial Council, and took the necessary decisions accordingly in the following manner:
The Supreme Council reviewed the GCC process in the field of economy by examining the reports and recommendations presented by the relevant Ministerial Committees and the Secretariat-General.
The Supreme Council adopted the document, The Unified Commercial Policy of the GCC States. The document aims at unifying the external trade policy of the GCC States, and dealing with the outside world as a single economic unit. It also calls for adopting a unified internal trade policy that would facilitate the movement of citizens, commodities, services, and means of transport, keeping into consideration environmental and consumer protection.
The Supreme Council also examined the working of customs union and its positive impact such as increased commercial exchange and the facilitation of the cross-movement of commodities between the Member States. Further, the Supreme Council approved the extension of the interim phase of the customs union until the end of the year 2007, and agreed to exempt a number of goods from custom taxes.
The Council looked into the steps to implement the Common Gulf Market, as well as the achievements made during 2005 by the Member States, especially in the field of Stock trading and ownership. The Council approved the agreement(which was undertaken upon authorization from the Supreme Council) of the Finance and Economics Committee on adding the following economic activities to the list of activities that can be practiced by the GCC citizens in all the Member States. The newly permitted economic activities are private recruitment offices, car rentals, and most of the cultural activities.
The Council directed the relevant committees to speedily fulfill all the remaining requirements for launching the Common Gulf Market before the end of the year 2007.
With regard to the implementation of the timeline for instituting the Monetary Union of the GCC , the Supreme Council considered the report of the Secretariat-General on the steps that have been taken in this connection. The Council endorsed the agreement reached on the financial and monetary standards for economic approximation by the Finance and Economics Committee and the Committee of the Governors of the Monetary Agencies and Central Banks. The Council directed the two committees to conclude deliberations on how to calculate those standards and percentages, and to submit it during the next session of the Supreme Council.
The Council perused a number of other economic reports submitted by the Secretariat-General, and issued its directives accordingly. Among reports considered were the report on the consular study on water interconnection between the GCC States, the report on the steps taken to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a railroad network between the GCC States, and the report detailing the level of progress made in each GCC State in relation to the headway made in the project on the issuance of the identity card for the GCC States with unified information (smart card).
The Council also perused the report presented on the joint precautionary steps and measures taken within the framework of the GCC in relation to Avian Flu, and the outcome of the emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health and Agriculture the GCC States . The Council issued directives to intensify and coordinate efforts to prevent the spread and proliferation of this disease.
The Supreme Council reviewed the report of the Secretary-General on the progress of cooperation between the GCC States and the Republic of Yemen, and the steps that have been taken within the framework of the GCC with regard to this issue, including the Supreme Council directive on supporting the financing of development projects in Yemen, as well as the inclination to hold a conference to explore the investment opportunities in the Republic of Yemen.
Concerning the economic relations of the GCC States with other countries and international blocs, the Supreme Council examined the developments that have taken place during 2005 in this connection. The Council considered the framework agreements for economic cooperation as well as progress of the negotiations between the GCC States the European Union. The Supreme Council welcomed the progress made in the recent rounds of negotiations between the two sides, and expressed hope for the conclusion of these negotiations and the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC States and the EU in the near future. The Council also expressed satisfaction at the progress made in talks for establishing two Free Trade Areas between the GCC States and People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Turkey.
In the field of Human and Environmental Affairs, the Supreme Council looked into the topics related to the field.
Based on the keen desire of the GCC States to protect the human and environmental health from the dangers of ultra violet rays that may result due depletion of that layer, and in line with the international efforts within the framework of the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol on controlling the ozone depleting substances, the Supreme Council approved the Guiding Law of GCC States to control ozone depleting substances.
In the field of education the Supreme Council examined the report of the Secretary-General on evaluating the level of implementation of resolutions, and referred it to the Education Ministers and the Ministers of Higher Education to implement the proposals therein. The Supreme Council also blessed the efforts of Ministers of Education to implement the Supreme Council resolutions , and directed the Committee of Higher Education Ministers to accelerate the execution of joint programs and projects of higher education as well as the provisions of the document on the Comprehensive Development of Education, and to take into consideration the views and observations of the Member States in this regard.
Within the framework of the endeavors to achieve social tranquility for the citizens of the GCC States working in the private and public sectors , the Supreme Council expressed satisfaction at the necessary executive measures, arrangements, and preparations made by the Member States, the working groups, and the relevant Ministerial Committees to implement the Supreme Council decision made in the 25th session (Manamah-December-2004) to extend the insurance protection coverage to GCC citizens working outside their countries in any other Member State.
The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction at the measures taken to raise the level of family and childcare as well as at their efforts to enable the women to participate effectively in the development endeavors.
In the field of Youth and Sports, the Supreme Council lauded the efforts being made by their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Youth and Sports, and the Heads of the Olympic Committees, and the Technical Committees, to raise the level of Gulf Sports and to support the youth and sports activities in the GCC States.
In the field of Legal Affairs, the Supreme Council approved the Riyadh Document on the Uniform Penal Procedures in the GCC States in its new amended form as a Guiding Law for a period of four years.
The Supreme Council also decided to extend the validity period of the Kuwait Document on Uniform Civil Code for the GCC States, the Doha Document on Uniform Penal Law, the Abu Dhabi Document on Juveniles, the Manama Document on Legal Practice, and the Muscat Document on Evidence as Guiding Laws for a period of another four years. The Council decided to continue with effectiveness of the Manama Document on Common Civil Procedures and Defense in the GCC States as Guiding Law until the completion of its revision and approval in its final form.
In the Military sphere, the Supreme Council studied the results of the fourth periodic meeting of Joint Defense Council held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on 22 Sha'baan 1426 AH corresponding to 26 September 2005, and endorsed the decisions contained therein, and expressed satisfaction at the steps taken in this regard.
(The Council also considered the message of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud about strengthening Peninsula Shield Forces. The Council endorsed the proposals and referred them to the Joint Defense Council to study them and to submit the recommendations during the next session of the Supreme Council.)
In the field of security cooperation and coordination the Supreme Council looked into the results of the proceedings and resolutions of the 24th meeting of the Their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Interior which was held in Manama in November 2005. The Council expressed satisfaction at the progress of the security coordination and cooperation between the GCC States and positive developments aimed at protecting the societies of the GCC States from dangerous security problems such as the proliferation of drugs, money laundering, and smuggling of arms and explosives. The Council also expressed satisfaction at the achievements made in ways to prevent infiltration, and the development of secure means of communication to intensify exchange of information between the various organs of the security apparatus in the GCC States.
The Supreme Council endorsed the agreement reached by the Ministers of Interior on the movement of convicts, between GCC States, facing penalties that negate freedom. The Council authorized the Ministers to sign the agreement because of its humanitarian significance.
In view of the rapid security developments and events in the world caused by the terrorist elements, the Supreme Council examined the efforts of the Member States, and the measures and mechanisms adopted by them to combat terrorism at the regional and international levels. The Council expressed satisfaction at those efforts, mechanisms and measures. It reaffirmed the stances and principles of the GCC States on combating terrorism, denouncing it all its forms and shapes, irrespective of its origin, and rejecting the ill-founded justifications put forth in its favor. The Supreme Council reiterated its repeated calls for and its support to all regional an international efforts aimed at combating terrorism by crystallizing and coordinating the stands to define terrorism and pinpoint it, and to differentiate between terrorism and the legitimate rights of the people to struggle against occupation. The legitimate struggle against occupation does not legitimize the blood of innocents.
In this context the Supreme Council welcomed the results of the international counter-terrorism conference which was hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February 2005 in Riyadh. The Council also welcomed the recommendations of the Conference, foremost among which was the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, to establish an international centre for combating terrorism. There is no doubt that this centre would significantly and effectively contribute to the international efforts to counter terrorism. The Council supports the efforts aimed at forming a working group to study the recommendations to be contained in the proposed declaration related to the centre under the UN supervision.
The Supreme Council reiterated its condemnation of terrorist activities and the consequent murder of the innocents and destruction of property. The Council stressed the need to confront these terrorist activities collectively and internationally.
Concerning the functioning of the Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council of the GCC States, the Supreme Council perused the views of the Consultative Commission on the phenomenon of terrorism and decided to approve those views and to refer them to relevant Ministerial Committees so that they may evolve necessary mechanisms to implement those views. With regard to the report of the Commission about the evaluation of the joint process of the GCC over the past 23 years, the Council decided to refer it to the Member States so that the competent quarters may review the report and express their observations on it with goal of maximizing the opportunities of benefiting from it. After that the Consultative Commission shall revise the report and present it in its final form to the Supreme Council during the next session.
The Supreme Council assigned the Consultative Commission to study the economic nationalization and its role in deepening the process of Gulf nationalization; as well as the study on the importance of economic partnership in supporting the relations with neighboring countries and to present them to the Supreme Council during its next session.
In the political arena, the Supreme Council explored a number of regional, Arab and international issues and clarified the GCC stand on those issues in the following manner:
Pertaining to the continued occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of the three islands: the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, belonging to the United Arab Emirates, the Supreme Council stated its unwavering and well-known stand—which have been affirmed in all the previous statements—supporting the sovereign right of the United Arab Emirates on her three islands, including the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa as well as the territorial waters, airspace, continental shelf, and the economic zone of the three islands, as they are an integral part of the UAE.
The Supreme Council expressed regret at the lack of any progress in communication with the Islamic Republic of Iran until now or lack of any results that would contribute effectively in solving the problem and strengthen security and stability in the region.
The Supreme Council reaffirmed the need to keep considering all peaceful means that could lead to the restoration of the right of the UAE over her three islands. The Islamic Republic of Iran should respond to the efforts of the UAE and the international community aimed at solving the problem by peaceful means which includes resorting to the International Court of Justice.
With regard to Iraq, the Council welcomed the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections held on 15 December 2005. This was an election in which different groups of the brotherly Iraqi people with different ethnic affiliations participated. The Supreme Council hopes that the results of these elections would lead to the opening of a new page in the history of modern Iraq, ensuring its unity and stability. The Council hoped that Iraq would manage its affairs by itself and make a comeback as an effective player in the Arab and international arena, co-existing peacefully with its neighbors. The Council urged the Iraqi people to continue dialogue in order to arrive at a comprehensive national consensus, which is the main guarantee for Iraq's unity, stability and sovereignty. The Council reiterated the commitment of the Member States to honor their pledge for the reconstruction of Iraq.
In context of the keen desire of the leaders of the GCC States to see realization of the aspirations of the brotherly Iraqi people for stability, the Supreme Council condemned the explosions and the terrorist activities that target civilians as well as humanitarian and religious institutions. The Council also condemned the threats and attack on the Iraqi infrastructure and its destruction.
Further, the Supreme Council denounced the deliberate mass killings of Iraqis, and the Kuwaiti prisoners and detainees as well as subjects of other countries, which were carried out by the former Iraqi regime. This is being continually discovered in form of mass graves, representing blatant and gross violation of human rights as well as Islamic, ethical and Arab principles and values.
The Supreme Council welcomed the ongoing cooperation between Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq with regard to the suffering inflicted on the brotherly Kuwaiti and Iraqi peoples as a result of the inhumane practices of former Iraqi regime against both the Kuwaiti and Iraqi peoples. The Council expressed hope that the UN would persist with efforts to resolve the rest of the pending issues such as the return of the Kuwaiti assets and its national archives which were seized by the former Iraqi regime during the occupation of the Sate of Kuwait, as well as establishing the fate of the prisoners of Kuwait and other countries.
The Supreme Council reviewed the development of events in the Palestinian arena and the Middle East peace process. The Council expressed hope that the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and some settlements in the West Bank would be a step in the right direction on the condition that this would be followed by steps aimed at complete withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian territories, so as to enable the brotherly Palestinian people to establish their independent State on their national soil, with Holy Jerusalem as capital. In this context, the Supreme Council reiterated the commitment of the Member States to the Arab Peace Initiative—based on resolutions of international legality—which was adopted by the Beirut Summit in 2002. The Council emphasized the complementariness between this initiative and the roadmap.
The Supreme Council reiterated that the just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East will not be achieved except by the establishment of an independent Palestinian State founded on the essential requirements for it with Holy Jerusalem as its capital. The Council also stressed the need of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the line of 4th of June 1967 as well as from Southern Lebanon's Shebaa farms.
The Supreme Council demanded from Israel to refrain from its atrocious practices against the unarmed Palestinian people; stop assassinations; stop building settlements; evict the existing settlements; and stop the construction of the separating wall and raze parts of the wall that have already been constructed; and stop the threats that are being made by the extremist Jewish groups to attack the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Council made it clear that these threats would provoke the feelings of the Muslims and infringe upon the sanctity of what they consider Holy, and subvert the peace process.
The Supreme Council further demanded that Israel accede to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and subject all its nuclear installations to the international system of inspection by the International Agency for Atomic Energy. The Council urged the international community to mount pressure on Israel to achieve this end.
The Supreme Council renewed its appeals to make Middle East, including the Gulf region, free from the weapons of mass destruction.
The supreme Council examined the events taking place in Lebanon and condemned and censured the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, after a criminal attack targeting him and his associates. Rafik Al-Hariri devoted his life to strengthen security, stability, and development in Lebanon. The Supreme Council also condemned the repeated assassinations of symbols and leaders of the Lebanese people, affirming the desire of the GCC States to support the political, security, and economic stability for the Lebanese people. The Supreme Council called on the brothers in Lebanon to mend the cracks so as to preserve the unity and cohesion of Lebanon, and to provide security, stability and welfare to its brotherly people. The Supreme Council condemned the repeated Israeli threats, violations, and attacks on Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.
The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction at the Syrian Arab Republic's welcome of the UNSC resolution 1644 concerning United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), affirming the attachment of the GCC States to the sovereignty, independence, and the integrity of Syria and Lebanon.
The Supreme Council examined the developments in Sudan, welcoming the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which was concluded in Nairobi in January 2005, as well as the formation of the new Sudanese government. The Council praised the efforts being exerted by the Sudanese government to solve the Darfur problem. The Supreme Council expressed hope that peace would prevail in all parts of Sudan, bringing stability and prosperity to the brotherly people of Sudan.
In the end, the Supreme Council expressed immense appreciation and gratitude for the sincere and true efforts made by the His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eissa Al-Khalifa , King of Bahrain and his prudent government during His Majesty’s Chairmanship of the 25th session of the Supreme Council and the achievements made during the session in pushing forward the blessed process of joint action of the GCC towards broader horizons, thus brining progress and prosperity for the people of the region.
The Supreme Council also expressed immense appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, President of the UAE and Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council, his Government and generous people for the hospitality and the sincere feelings of fraternity with which the leaders of the Council were received. The leaders of the GCC states lauded the kind care and attention that was given by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, President of the UAE and Chairman of the current session of the Supreme Council to this meeting. The Council also lauded the wisdom with which his Highness managed the meeting. This has a great impact on arriving at important decisions and resolutions. The GCC leaders expressed their confidence that the UAE under the leadership of His Highness, will make valuable contributions to the blessed process of co-operation, thus promoting it to newer horizons in light of the requirements of the current circumstances at the local, regional, and international levels, thereby realizing security, stability, and prosperity for the peoples of the GCC States.
The Supreme Council looks forward to meeting in its 27th session, God willing, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the month of Dhul Qaada 1427 AH corresponding to December 2006 AD in response to the gracious invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.
Issue at Abu Dhabi
17 Dhul Qada 1426 AH
19 December 2005 AD