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    GCC to Iran: Turn words into action

    GCC sets up unified military command, calls to speed up action on monetary union and common market.

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Wednesday hailed the new orientation of Iran’s leadership but expressed concern at Tehran’s plans to build more atomic power plants.

    In a statement issued at the end of a two-day summit in Kuwait City, the GCC leaders welcomed a new stand taken by the Iranian leadership towards the GCC states, hoping that such moves would be followed by tangible steps to reflect positively on peace, security and stability in the region.

    They welcomed the preliminary agreement signed by the ‘P5+1’ countries with Iran in Geneva last November, calling it an initial step towards a comprehensive and lasting agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme that would end international and regional concerns.

    However, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al Zayani expressed concern over Iraian nuclear plans: “The council expressed concern regarding announcements over plans to build more nuclear reactors on the banks of the Gulf that threaten the environmental system and water security.”

    His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the closing session of the summit on Wednesday.

    Other members of the UAE delegation included Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy; Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, and senior officials.

    The leaders stressed the importance of closer cooperation between the GCC and Iran on the basis of good neighbourliness and non-interference and respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region.

    The GCC condemned Tehran’s occupation of the three UAE islands of Abu Musa and the Lesser and Greater Tunbs. It emphasised support to the UAE’s sovereignty over the islands, declaring any developments carried out by Iran on the three islands null and void.

    The summit communique called for completion of consultations on a Saudi call for the GCC’s transition from cooperation to a union.

    The GCC leaders decided to set up a Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, which will be headquartered in the UAE. They also decided to set up a GCC unified military command and assign a Joint Defence Council to take necessary implementation measures.

    The leaders stressed the importance of joint cooperation, noting that it should be expanded to serve the GCC states and peoples. They expressed their satisfaction over the status of GCC economies in terms of continuous growth and comprehensive development in various fields.

    They endorsed a number of rules regarding the?integration of the financial markets of the member states. They were briefed on the progress of water linking and security, monetary union plans, and steps taken to implement a common market.

    The communique said the leaders were also briefed on the GCC railway project which is set to be operational by 2018.

    The leaders instructed the General Secretariat to study a proposal to set up a fund to support SME projects by young entrepreneurs and to establish a permanent programme for GCC youth to develop their abilities and spur their contribution to development and humanitarian work, promote the spirit of leadership and values as well as strengthen the GCC identity.

    The statement praised Saudi Arabia’s calls for reforms to enhance the UN Security Council’s role in resolving issues at the international level.

    The Gulf states called for the withdrawal of “all foreign forces” from Syria, where militias from Iraq and Lebanon are supporting regime troops against rebels and foreign fighters.

    The GCC strongly condemned the continued genocide that President Bashar Al Assad’s regime is committing against the Syrian people using heavy and chemical weapons.

    The GCC backed the rebels’ position that Assad play no role in any political transition agreed to in talks scheduled for next month in Geneva while urging the opposition to attend the meeting.

    “Pillars of the Syrian regime whose hands had been stained by the blood of the Syrian people must have no role in the transitional government or Syria’s political future,” the communique said.

    They also voiced support for the Syrian National Coalition’s decision to attend the Geneva 2 conference “as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people”.

    The National Coalition, an umbrella opposition group also backed by the West, had agreed to attend next month’s Geneva 2 peace conference under certain conditions, including that Assad play no role in any transitional government.

    With regard to Egypt, the leaders affirmed their support for the Egyptian people and their choices of democracy and said they would support the Egyptian economy so that Egypt can regain its leading role on the Arab and regional levels.

    The statement welcomed the efforts made by the United States to back the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that would lead to the setting up of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

    (Khaleej Times)

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