The text of the following statement was released by the governments of the United States and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, and GCC Secretary General Jasem Albudaiwi met in New York on September 18, 2023 to discuss the strategic importance of celebrate the historic ties between their countries. Ministers underlined their shared commitment to build on the outcomes of previous ministerial meetings, including the latest ministerial meeting in Riyadh on 7 June 2023, to strengthen consultation, coordination and cooperation in all areas.
The ministers welcomed the diplomatic engagement of Saudi Arabia and other GCC states with Iran to pursue regional de-escalation and emphasized the importance of compliance with international law, including the UN Charter, by states in the region. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security in the region and their determination to deter illegal actions at sea or elsewhere that affect shipping lanes, international trade and oil installations in the GCC could threaten states. Ministers underlined their support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and renewed their call on Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. They again called on Iran to stop the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles and other dangerous weapons that pose a serious threat to the security of the region. The GCC and the United States reiterated their commitment to work together to deter and address threats to sovereignty and territorial integrity and other destabilizing activities.
The Ministers reiterated their support for the United Arab Emirates’ call to find a peaceful solution to the dispute over the three islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, through bilateral negotiations or through the International Court of Justice, in accordance with the rules of international law, including the UN Charter.
Ministers underlined the importance of continued, joint support for the UN-led peace efforts in Yemen following the April 2022 ceasefire and the subsequent period of de-escalation. They expressed their great appreciation for the efforts of Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UN and American envoys to this end. The ministers also emphasized their support for an inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni political process under the auspices of the UN that will sustainably resolve the conflict. They welcomed the efforts made by the Presidential Leadership Council to promote peace and alleviate the suffering of Yemenis, and stressed the need for the Houthis to seize this opportunity and positively engage in international efforts and peace initiatives aimed at bringing lasting peace to Yemen and putting the country on the road to recovery. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of continuing to address Yemen’s humanitarian, economic and development needs. They called for an end to all restrictions and interference by the Houthis affecting the operations of humanitarian organizations on the ground. They expressed their commitment to help mobilize additional funds in support of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen. They also welcomed the UN’s completion in August of a complex operation to offload oil from the abandoned Safer tanker off the coast of Yemen, averting an environmental, economic and humanitarian threat to the region and the Red Sea. The ministers praised Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to encourage Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue and provide economic and humanitarian assistance to Yemen, including the announcement in August to provide $1.2 billion for government budget support and food security.
- Israeli-Palestinian issues
The Ministers underlined their commitment to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-state solution, as set out in the Arab Peace Initiative, along the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land exchanges, in accordance with internationally recognized parameters . They stressed the importance of avoiding unilateral actions that undermine the two-state solution and increasing tensions, and of preserving the historical status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites, recognizing the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in this regard. Ministers reiterated their support for the Palestinian Authority and for improving the daily lives of Palestinians, including through humanitarian assistance and efforts to accelerate Palestinian economic growth.
On Syria, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to achieving an inclusive political solution to the Syrian crisis in a manner that preserves the unity and sovereignty of Syria, meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, is consistent with international humanitarian law right and in line with the requirements of the UN Security Council. Resolution (UNSCR) 2254 (2015). In that context, Ministers welcomed Arab efforts to resolve the crisis in a step-by-step manner, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, as decided at the meeting of the Arab Ministerial Contact Group on Syria on 1 May 2023 in Amman and confirmed on 1 May 2023. August 15, 2023 in Cairo. The ministers reaffirmed their support for US and coalition forces working to permanently defeat Da’esh in Syria. The ministers further condemned all actions that threaten the safety and security of these forces. They stressed the need to create secure conditions for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, in accordance with UN standards, and the importance of providing the necessary support to Syrian refugees and to the countries hosting them catch. The ministers reiterated their call for a nationwide ceasefire. They stressed that full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all Syrians in need – through all modalities, including cross-border and crossline – must be ensured. They also reiterated the need to support humanitarian early recovery projects. Furthermore, they discussed strengthening cooperation to address the issue of missing persons – as set out in the Amman Communique and UNSCR 2254 – in coordination with all relevant parties.
Ministers stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kuwait and to respect for international treaties and UN resolutions, in particular UN Security Council Resolution 833 on the demarcation of the border between Kuwait and Iraq . They called for the complete demarcation of the maritime border between Kuwait and Iraq beyond border point 162 and called on the government of Iraq to quickly resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 agreement between Kuwait and Iraq to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah to regulate and ensure that the agreement remains in force. Ministers renewed their support for UN Security Council Resolution 2107 (2013) regarding the transfer of the file on the repatriation of all Kuwaitis, including missing Kuwaitis, and the return of Kuwaiti property, including national archives, to the UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI). and expressed the hope that Iraq will continue to work together to ensure progress on this file. They called on Iraq and the UN to make maximum efforts to find a solution to all issues involved.
- Climate change and environment
Ministers emphasized the importance of a joint approach to the global challenge of climate change and sustainability. They pledged to make every effort to tackle this urgent problem and raise the ceiling of climate ambitions by defining and achieving maximum ambitions for emissions reductions, the production of renewable energy sources and the adoption of creative solutions and technologies for a rapid transition to low-carbon economies. Ministers agreed to continue exploring creative and sustainable solutions to achieve the Paris goals and called on states to activate their contributions and participation in COP28, to be hosted by the UAE in November 2023.
Ministers welcomed the gathering of the International Horticultural Exhibition in the State of Qatar from October 2023 to March 2024, to encourage creative solutions in the areas of sustainability, environmental awareness and desertification.
- GCC-US Strategic Partnership
Ministers reaffirmed their shared determination to contribute to regional security, stability and prosperity under the GCC-US Strategic Partnership. Ministers underlined their mutual determination to build closer relations in all areas, including defense and security cooperation, and to develop collective approaches to regional issues. The ministers emphasized the importance of the principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence for relations between nations. Ministers noted the Security Council’s recognition in Resolution 2686 that hate speech, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, related forms of intolerance, gender discrimination and acts of extremism can contribute to the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of conflict, and reaffirmed that States must respect and guarantee the human rights of all individuals within their territory and under their jurisdiction, as provided by relevant international law.
The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining periodic working group meetings to achieve better coordination and look forward to convening meetings of GCC and US working groups, including the Cyber Security, Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security Working Groups later this year.
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