40th session of GCC Supreme Council issues final communique


RIYADH, 10th December, 2019 (WAM) -- The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, has affirmed its keenness on the strength, cohesion, and solidity of the alliance, and the unity of ranks among its members, due to the special relations and common features between them based on the Islamic belief, the Arab culture, the common fate and the unity of purpose.

This unity combines its peoples as well as its desire to achieve more coordination, integration and interdependence among them in all fields through the blessed march of the GCC, in a way that fulfills the aspirations of GCC citizens.

The Supreme Council also affirmed that its countries stand together in the face of any threat to any of the GCC countries.

The Supreme Council praised UAE hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai, hinting that such success is a credit for all countries and peoples of the GCC, as organising such major events would enhance dialogue of cultures, allow communication between them, and establish the region's position as an international business hub.

The Supreme Council praised the efforts of the UAE in the field of outer space exploration, launched "Hope Probe", which will start mission in 2020 to reach Mars in 2021, expressing its appreciation for this distinguished step, as it is expected to develop knowledge, scientific research and space applications.

The 40th meeting of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, which concluded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier Tuesday, issued the final communique of its deliberations as follows: "At a kind invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Supreme Council of the GCC held in Riyadh today its 40th session, under the chairmanship of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the participation of each of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain; His Highness Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Saeed, Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman; Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar; His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait; and Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashed Al-Zayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

1- The Supreme Council congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on assuming the presidency of the current 40th meeting of the Supreme Council, expressing appreciation of the monarch for the keenness and interest shown in his opening speech for activation of the GCC march in all fields.

2- The Supreme Council expressed its deep appreciation of and gratitude to Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, and his esteemed government for the great sincere efforts made during the period of the presidency of the Sultanate of Oman of the 39th session of the Supreme Council, which resulted in implementing important steps and achievements. The Council congratulated the United Arab Emirates on taking over the coming presidency, wishing the UAE all success in consolidating the GCC march in all fields.

3- The Supreme Council affirmed its keenness on the strength, cohesion, and solidity of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the unity of ranks among its members, due to the special relations and common features between them based on the Islamic belief, the Arab culture, the common fate and the unity of purpose that combine its peoples as well as its desire to achieve more coordination, integration and interdependence among them in all fields through the blessed march of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in a way that fulfills the aspirations of GCC citizens. The Supreme Council affirms that its countries stand together in the face of any threat to any of the GCC countries.

4- The Supreme Council hails the good endeavours and sincere efforts made by Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of the State of Kuwait to mend fences that marred relations between the member states. The Council expressed its support for these efforts and the importance of continuing them within the framework of the solo Gulf House. The Supreme Council congratulated the Emir of the State of Kuwait on the success of the medical tests he has recently undergone, wishing him every health and wellness.

5- The leaders affirm the necessity of implementing all decisions of the Supreme Council and inked agreements within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council according to their specific timetables and commitment to their contents due to their importance in protecting the security of the member states, maintaining their stability, ensuring their safety and the interests of their citizens, and creating a stable economic and social environment that enhances the well-being of the GCC citizens.

6- The Supreme Council affirms that the sabotage attack on the oil supply facilities to the international markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in September 2019 was directed at the international energy supplies, which is a continuation of the previous aggressive acts against Aramco's pumping stations by Iranian weapons. The Council called upon the international community to assume its responsibilities to condemn those behind these attacks and confront these terrorist acts that affect the global economy, praising the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s invitation to the international experts from the United Nations to get reassured on the facts and participate in the investigations. The Supreme Council affirms that the GCC states support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's procedures in the light of the outcomes of those investigations in order to ensure its security and stability.

7- The Supreme Council directs the competent authorities of the member states, within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to complete all necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of their territories, territorial waters and economic areas, stressing the importance of the role of the international community in preserving freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and international straits against any threat. The council also praises the United States' efforts to strengthen its military presence in the region for this purpose.

8- The Supreme Council praised the results of the Security and Defense Conference of the Chiefs of Staff of the GCC countries, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Britain, the United States of America, France, South Korea, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, and Greece, held in Riyadh, in October 2019, which confirmed unified position against the attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia targeting the infrastructure of its economy and energy, considering it as an attack on the global economy and the international community, and expressing full support for the efforts Saudi Arabia has made to deal with these criminal acts, to deter any other attacks in accordance with international law.

9- The Supreme Council welcomed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's taking over the chairmanship of the G20 in December 2019, and the scheduled hosting of the 15th session of the Summit of G20 in November 2020, expressing confidence in the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in enhancing cooperation, achieving the goals of G20, and creating international consensus on economic issues with the aim of achieving stability and prosperity of the global economy.

10- The Supreme Council praised UAE hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai, hinting that such success is a credit for all countries and peoples of the GCC, as organising such major events would enhance dialogue of cultures, allow communication between them, and establish the region's position as an international business hub.

11- The Supreme Council praised the establishment of the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council, based on the two brotherly countries keenness to consolidate relations and enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields.

12- The Supreme Council praised the efforts of the UAE in the field of outer space exploration, launched "Hope Probe" , which will start mission in 2020 to reach Mars in 2021, expressing its appreciation for this distinguished step, as it is expected to develop knowledge, scientific research and space applications.

13- The Supreme Council praised the success of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, hosted by Qatar between 26th November and 8th December, citing the host country's excellent organisation and efforts making the championship a success.

Promoting joint Gulf action: 14- The Supreme Council reviewed the developments of the joint Gulf action, stressed the importance of preserving the council’s gains and the achievements of its integrative career, and directed the competent authorities in the member states, the General Secretariat, and the ministerial and technical committees to redouble efforts to achieve the lofty goals stipulated in the Statute of the GCC.

15- The Supreme Council expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in implementing the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to promote joint Gulf action, which was approved by the Supreme Council at its 36 session, in December 2015.

The Council mandated the bodies, councils, ministerial and technical committees, the General Secretariat and all council organs, to redouble their efforts to complete the remaining steps, according to their timetables, including the completion of the components of the economic unity within the framework of the GCC, the joint defence and security systems, and the elaboration of a unified and effective foreign policy for the GCC that preserves interests and earnings, avoids regional and international conflicts, and meets the aspirations of its citizens.

16- The Supreme Council was briefed on the results of consultations regarding the implementation of the Supreme Council’s decision taken in its 36 session regarding the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to move from the stage of cooperation to the union stage, and instruct the Supreme Council to continue efforts to move from the stage of cooperation to the stage of union, and assign to the Ministerial Council and the head of the specialised body to complete taking the necessary measures for that, and submit what is reached to the Supreme Council, at its next session.

17- The Supreme Council reviewed a report on the follow-up to the implementation of the work programme of the Economic and Development Affairs Authority, and directed to set a road map for completing studies and projects related to achieving economic unity by the year 2025, stressing the importance of continuing to deepen cooperation and integration in the economic field between the countries of the Cooperation Council.

18- The Supreme Council adopted the consultative committee’s views on the role of women in development in the GCC states, its views on social media networks, and the frameworks and areas of strategic cooperation between the Cooperation Council and Africa, and directed them to refer them to the relevant authorities within the framework of the council.

19- The Supreme Council mandated its Advisory Body to study the following topics during its twenty-second session 2020: Gulf human capital and the promotion of economic sustainability, the Silk Road Project (Belt and Road), and uniting efforts to raise the ranking of the GCC states on the indicators of global competitiveness.

20- The Supreme Council approved the Law on Trademarks.

21- The Council assigned the GCC Financial and Economic Committee to accredit and implement the necessary decisions related to the joint action in the field of customs union, including the amendments of the unified tariff, added value, selective tax, joint stock market and combat of harmful practices in international trade.

22- It assigned the competent ministerial committees in charge of non-custom restrictions to review the unified guide to releasing foreign goods at the first entry inlets of the GCC countries according to customs unified requirements, within a limited period.

23- The Supreme Council endorsed the cultural strategy for the GCC countries for the coming decade 2020 - 2030 as well as the labor and labor force strategy for the term 2020 - 2025.

24- The Council approved the unified regulation for real estate owners for a preliminary four years as well as the guide to the best experiences in the field of housing finance.

25- The Council approved the domestic regulation and budget for the translation and Arabization and taking care of the Arabic language in Muscat.

26- The Council confirmed keenness to continue assistance to Arab and friendly countries all through the world.

Joint military and security action: 27 - The Supreme Council approved the decisions of the Joint Defense Council at its sixteenth session, stressing keenness to implement them according to the relevant procedures and regulations.

It blessed the conclusions reached by the Joint Defense Council in the various military fields, including with regard to confronting the growing threats against the GCC states, especially the threat of navigation in the Arab Gulf and international straits, and completing the activation of the unified military leadership, and developing and sustaining joint military projects.

28 - The Supreme Council approved the findings of the study on the establishment of the Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, and the credits allocated to the Academy, funded equally by member states in the budget of 2022, provided that the courses of the academy start as of the Academic Year 2023/2024.

29- The Supreme Council welcomed the opening of the official headquarters of the International Alliance for the Protection and Safety of Maritime Navigation and ensuring the safety of sea lanes in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in November 2019, aiming to provide a safe atmosphere to ensure freedom of maritime navigation, international trade, and the start of its duties led by the United States of America and the membership of the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Albania, stressing that this will enhance the security and protection of maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, and Bab al-Mandab.

30 - The Supreme Council endorsed the decisions of the interior ministers at their meeting (36) held in the Sultanate of Oman, in October 2019, and expressed satisfaction with the achievements made in the security field.

31- The Supreme Council reviewed the ongoing preparations for conducting the tactical exercise (Arab Gulf Security 2), which will be held in the UAE during the month of February 2020, confirming the importance of the exercise in enhancing security cooperation between the states of the GCC and the professional compatibility between the concerned agencies to consolidate, support security and deterrence to whoever tries to prejudice the security and stability of the region.

Combating Terrorism: 32- The Supreme Council affirms the GCC permanent stances and decisions towards terrorism and extremism, its rejection of all its forms and images as well as its motives and justifications and whatever its source. The council worked to dry up sources of terrorism financing, stressing that tolerance and coexistence among the nations and peoples are among the most important principles and values on which the GCC societies and their dealings with other peoples are established.

33- The Supreme Council hails the outcomes of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre regarding the classification of companies, banks and individuals supporting terrorist activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah as terrorist entities and taking the necessary measures in this regard.

34- The Supreme Council praises the efforts of the United States and the international coalition in pursuing the leaders of the so-called Daesh which has worked to distort the true image of Islam and Muslims, stressing the GCC continuous efforts with their allies to combat terrorism, dry up its sources and confront terrorist thought.

35- The Supreme Council welcomes the Conference of Counter-Extremism and Terrorist speech at the headquarters of the GCC General Secretariat on October 2019. The council lauds the outcomes of the annual conference of the countries participating in the International Alliance, in Washington, November 2019, led by the United States, praising the efforts made by the International Alliance in defeating the so-called Daesh.

Regional and International Council: 36- The Supreme Council reviews the latest developments of the regional and international issues, stressing the GCC keenness to maintain stability and security in the region, support the prosperity of their peoples, enhance the relations of the Council with fraternal and friendly countries, work with the regional and international organisations to maintain global peace and security and to consolidate the GCC role in achieving peace, sustainable development, and aspirations of the Arab and Islamic nation.

The Palestinian cause: 37- The Supreme Council affirmed the permanent stances of the GCC states regarding the Palestinian issue as the first Arab and Muslim issue, its support for the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all the Palestinian territories occupied since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, international references and decisions of the international legitimacy, stressing the centrality of the Palestinian cause, and the necessity of activating the efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict, in a way that meets all the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people according to those foundations.

38 - The Supreme Council expressed condemnation of the Israeli occupation authorities' demolition of dozens of houses east of Al-Quds, calling on the international community to intervene to stop targeting the Palestinian well-being, the forced displacement of citizens from the city of Al-Quds, plots underway to change the legal nature of the city and its demographic composition, which is inconsistent with international and humanitarian laws and agreements.

39 - The Supreme Council expressed rejection of the Israeli government’s intention to annex settlements in the West Bank, in clear violation of the relevant United Nations Charter and resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and other relevant principles of international law.

The Supreme Council affirmed what was stated in the statement of the foreign ministers of the Arab countries held in Cairo, September 2019, in this regard, and the decision of the League of Arab States at the ministerial level on November 25, 2019, regarding what was issued by the United States of America regarding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

40- The Supreme Council affirmed that the Israeli policy of house demolitions, displacement and eviction of Palestinian residents and citizens undermines the possibility of achieving the two-state solution and lasting peace.

41 - The Supreme Council affirmed the statement of the foreign ministers of the OIC Member States held in Jeddah in July 2019, which expressed concern over the continuing attempts to change the historical and legal status of the occupied city of A-Quds, the transfer of diplomatic missions of some countries to it, and its condemnation of any positions, procedures and decisions aimed to change the status of the holy city.

42- The Supreme Council condemned the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death and injury of dozens of innocent Palestinians and the targeting of residential installations, agricultural lands and security sites, and called on the international community to assume its responsibilities, in this regard.

43. The Supreme Council welcomed the international consensus to vote on the decision to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for three years, and this was considered as an international commitment and consensus to support the rights of the Palestinian people and the right of refugees to return to their homes, praising the generous assistance provided by the states of the GCC to support the agency's activities and called on the international community to continue increasing support to the agency to continue its mission until the return of the Palestinian refugees.

Iranian occupation of the three islands of the United Arab Emirates: 44- The Supreme Council affirmed its consistent positions and previous decisions regarding the condemnation of the continued occupation by Iran of the three islands (Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and Abu Musa) of the United Arab Emirates, reaffirming the following: A- Supporting the right of sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands, the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, and the territorial waters, its skies, the continental shelf, and the exclusive economic zone of the three islands as an integral part of the territory of the United Arab Emirates.

B - Considering that any decisions, practices, or actions that Iran undertakes on the three islands are null and void and do not change any of the historical and legal facts on the right of the United Arab Emirates' sovereignty over its three islands.

C- Calling Iran to respond to the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or resorting to the International Court of Justice.

Iran: 45 - The Supreme Council affirmed its consistent positions and decisions regarding relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, stressing the need for Iran to adhere to the basic principles based on the Charter of the United Nations and the charters of international law, principles of good-neighborliness, respect for the sovereignty of states, non-interference in internal affairs, and resolving disputes by peaceful means, not to use force or threaten to resort to force, and reject sectarianism.

46- The Supreme Council expressed its total rejection of the continuation of Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the GCC states and the region, its condemnation of all terrorist acts carried out by Iran, and fueling sectarian and sectional conflicts, stressing the need to desist and refrain from supporting groups that fuel these conflicts, and stop supporting, financing and arming militias and terrorist organizations, in clear violation of international norms and values and threatening regional and international security.

47 - The Supreme Council expressed its condemnation of Iran's continued failure to fulfill its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stopping the implementation of its obligations, and its delay in providing the required information about its nuclear programme, and stressed the need to demand full cooperation and respect for the immunities and privileges of IAEA inspectors.

48 - The Supreme Council stressed the importance of a comprehensive international agreement that guarantees preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in any way and its breaches of its nuclear obligations, and preventing all threats posed by Iran and exploiting the economic returns from the nuclear agreement to finance its hostile and terrorist activities in the region.

49 - The Supreme Council welcomed the decision of the United States of America to end the exemption of the Iranian Fordow nuclear facility from sanctions as of December 15, 2019, as well as the contents of the joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union in November 2019, regarding Iran's resumption of uranium enrichment in Fordow facilities, which was confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in its report issued in November 2019, as a clear violation of Iran's obligations, in this regard.

50 - The Supreme Council expressed its welcome and support for the steps taken by the United States of America to coerce the Iranian regime to stop its destabilizing policy of security and stability and its support and sponsor terrorism around the world. The Supreme Council stressed the need to continue international efforts to compel the Iranian regime to adhere to the principles of international law, stop its interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and support for terrorism and its activities that have brought chaos and ruins to many countries.

51- The Supreme Council welcomed the statement of the Quartet, which included the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and the concern expressed by the statement about the escalating tension in the region and the threat posed by the destabilizing Iranian activity on peace and security in the region and the tension represented by the Houthi militia attacks on Saudi Arabia, using Iranian-made missiles and drones.

Yemen: 52- The Supreme Council affirmed the GCC firm stances and decisions regarding the crisis in the Republic of Yemen and the need to reach a political solution to the crisis in accordance with the references represented by the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue conference, and the Security Council resolution No. 2216, expressing its support for the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen according to these references.

53- The Supreme Council commended the efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its sponsorship of the Jeddah Dialogue to mend fences among the brothers in the Yemeni Republic, which culminated in the signing of Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council in the interest of the Yemeni people. The Council hailed the efforts of the United Arab Emirates for the agreement's success.

54- The Supreme Council welcomed the legitimate Yemeni government's step to begin its work from the provisional capital of Aden in implementation of Riyadh agreement in order to activate all state institutions in all liberated governorates to serve the Yemeni citizen. The council also welcomed the convening of 1st session of the Yemeni Parliament in the Yemeni territories in Sayun since the Houthi coup against the legitimate authority. Holding the parliamentary first session represents an important step towards activating the role of constitutional institutions in Yemen.

55- The Supreme Council affirmed that it will continue to support the development projects in the Republic of Yemen, where the cost of these projects exceeds USD13 billion.

56- The Supreme Council hailed the achievements of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) through its field branches in the Yemeni governorates as well as the humanitarian support provided by the GCC Relief and Humanitarian Aid Coordination Office (GAFC). The council also lauded the humanitarian assistance provided by all GCC countries, hailing the GCC support for the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan in Yemen for the year 2019, where the GCC countries provided 42 percent of the total value of the UN plan of USD4.2 billion, as the United Arab Emirates provided USD750 million, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia USD750 million, the State of Qatar USD27 million and the State of Kuwait USD250 million. The council also praised the efforts of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) where more than 100,000 mines had been dismantled since the beginning of the project and the launch of the second phase of the project at a cost of USD30 million.

57- The Supreme Council commended the decision of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen to release 200 prisoners of the Houthi militias in addition to launching flights in cooperation with the World Health Organization to transport patients from the capital for treatment abroad.

58- The Supreme Council commended the accomplishments of the Yemeni army with the support of the Arab coalition forces on all fronts to restore the legitimacy of the Yemeni state and its institutions, stressing that the GCC states stand with the Yemeni government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Yemeni people until the restoration of their state.

59- The Supreme Council affirmed that the Iranian-backed Houthi militias' terrorist hostilities and operations in targeting civilians and civil objects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represent a violation of the international and humanitarian law. The council added that the Houthi violations represent war crimes and a real threat to the regional and international security. The council emphasizes the legitimate right of the Arab Coalition to take and implement the necessary measures to deal with these hostile and terrorist acts in accordance with the rules of the international and humanitarian law, asserting the need to prevent arms smuggling to Houthi-backed militias from Iran that threaten freedom of maritime navigation and global trade in the strait Bab al-Mandab and the Red Sea.

60- The Supreme Council commended the joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, on August 27, 2019, which affirmed a continuation of the relief efforts for the Yemeni people and the working on achieving the interests, security and stability of the Yemeni people.

61- The Supreme Council hailed the announcement by the Command of the Coalition Forces to reposition the coalition forces in Aden, to be under the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to redeploy them according to the requirements of the current operations. The council appreciated the continuous efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to coordinate plans of the military and security operations in Aden.

Iraq: 62- The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction with the steps taken to implement the Memorandum of Understanding and the joint action plan for strategic dialogue, and to develop relations between the Cooperation Council system and the Republic of Iraq in all political, security, economic, cultural and other fields.

63 - The Supreme Council affirmed its consistent positions and decisions regarding Iraq, stressing the importance of preserving the integrity, territorial integrity, full sovereignty, Arab identity, social fabric, and national unity. The council asserted its support for confronting terrorist groups and armed militias and strengthening state sovereignty and law enforcement.

64- The Supreme Council followed developments in Iraq and affirmed its support for everything that would end the current escalation, expressing its condolences to the families of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured. The council called for the language of dialogue to prevail preserving the social fabric, establishing peace and stability, and protecting citizens, their rights and public and private property. It also called for non-interference in its internal affairs, wishing Iraq and its brotherly people all progress, prosperity and economic development.

65- The Supreme Council renewed its support for Security Council Resolution No. 2107 (2013), which decided unanimously to refer the file of prisoners, missing persons, Kuwaiti property and the national archive to the United Nations Mission (UNAMI), to follow up on this file, and regretted that no progress was made in any of the outstanding issues. The aforementioned, and the Council calls on the Iraqi government and the United Nations to make every effort to find a solution to this humanitarian issue and other related issues, especially the completion of the demarcation of the maritime borders, beyond the 162nd mark.

Egypt: 66- The Supreme Council affirmed support for the security and stability of the Arab Republic of Egypt, appreciating its efforts in strengthening Arab national security and peace in the region, combating extremism and terrorism, promoting development, prosperity, and advancement for the brotherly Egyptian people, and rejecting interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries. The Council expressed its support for the existing efforts to solve the Renaissance Dam's issue and in a way that meets the water and economic interests of the countries concerned, appreciating the international efforts made in this regard.

Syria: 67- The Supreme Council affirmed its firm positions and decisions regarding the Syrian crisis, a political solution based on the principles of (Geneva 1), and Security Council Resolution no. 2254, which provides for the formation of a transitional governing body to manage the affairs of the country, draft a new constitution for Syria, and prepare for elections to chart a future of the new Syria, fulfills the aspirations of the brotherly Syrian people.

68- The Supreme Council affirmed its stances by preserving the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, respecting its independence and sovereignty over its territory, and rejecting regional interferences in its internal affairs, and everything that affects Arab national security and threatens international peace and security.

69 - The Supreme Council welcomed the formation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria and the commencement of its work, and expressed its hope that this would be enhancing to the efforts made to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that would fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, reiterating its support for the United Nations envoy to Syria.

70 - The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the efforts of the United Nations to work to return Syrian refugees and displaced persons to their cities and villages under the international supervision in accordance with the international standards, and to provide them with the support in the countries of asylum, and rejected any attempts to bring about demographic changes in Syria.

71 - The Supreme Council reiterated its condemnation of the Iranian existence in the Syrian territories and Iran's interference in the Syrian affairs, demanding to expel all Iranian forces, Hezbollah militias, and all sectarian militias that Iran recruited to work in Syria.

72 - The Supreme Council welcomed the joint statement issued by the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt and Jordan, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings, which stressed the intolerance of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and that all parties must comply with the rules of international law and hold all perpetrators of human rights violations in Syria accountable.

Lebanon: 73- The Supreme Council followed the latest developments in Lebanon, affirming the GCC firm stances and decisions regarding Lebanon as well as its keenness for Lebanon's security, stability, and territorial integrity, expressing its hope that the Lebanese components will respond to the call of the supreme interest and wise dealing with the challenges facing the Lebanese state in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Lebanese people.

Libya: 74- The Supreme Council affirmed its firm stances and decisions regarding the Libyan crisis and supported the efforts of the United Nations to reach a political solution based on the Skhirat Agreement signed between the Libyan parties in December 2015, reiterating the GCC keenness to preserve the interests of the Libyan people as well as the Libyan security, stability and territorial integrity. The council also supported efforts to counter the so-called terrorist organization ISIS.

Sudan: 75- The Supreme Council welcomed the historic agreement inked by the Sudanese parties which aims at achieving the interest of Sudan, preserving its security, safety and stability and achieving the aspirations of the Sudanese people. The council affirmed the need to ensure the security and stability of Sudan based on the historical and fraternal relations that link the GCC countries with Sudan.

76- The Supreme Council welcomed the appointment of Abdullah Hamdok as Prime Minister and a formation of the transitional government in the Republic of Sudan. The council asserted the importance of this step in order to achieve aspirations of the Sudanese people and preserve the Sudanese security, safety and stability.

Tunis: 77- The Supreme Council congratulated Tunisian President Kais bin Saied on the occasion of winning the presidential elections, wishing the Tunisian Republic and its brotherly people steady progress and prosperity.

Somalia: 78 - The Supreme Council affirmed its steadfast positions to support the security and stability of Somalia and to combat terrorism and piracy, welcoming the efforts of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other international efforts in this regard. The council affirmed the continued support of the states of the Council for development and humanitarian efforts in Somalia in order to achieve its security and stability.

Afghanistan: 79- The Supreme Council appreciated the efforts of the GCC states and the international community to achieve peace, security and stability in the Republic of Afghanistan, calling for the continuation of these efforts in the interests of the Afghan people.

The crisis of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar: 80- The Supreme Council expressed its condemnation of the brutal attacks and systematic displacement of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State and other minorities in Kachin Shan State and other regions in Myanmar, rejecting ethnic discrimination or classification. The council called for facilitating the return of displaced persons and refugees to their cities and villages.

81- The Supreme Council noted the humanitarian assistance provided by the GCC countries to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the refugees in Bangladesh, and the United Nations organization's provision in this regard, calling on all countries to do more to help them.

Strategic partnerships between the Gulf Cooperation Council and other countries and groups: 82- The Supreme Council directed to strengthen the existing cooperation and partnership relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council system and the countries, regional systems and effective international organizations.

The council affirmed the importance of the quick completion of implementation of joint action plans.

83- The Supreme Council directed that the existing strategic partnerships are to be strengthened with the brotherly countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Iraq, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

84- The Supreme Council reviewed the report of the General Secretariat on the meetings of the specialized working groups that were formed to activate the strategic partnership between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the United States of America in the fields of military, politics, economy and combating terrorism and extremism, directing to intensify efforts to enhance the strategic partnership with the United States of America.

85- The Supreme Council affirmed its support for the USA strategy towards Iran.

86- The Supreme Council satisfied with the progress made in implementing the strategic partnership with the United Kingdom.

87- The Supreme Council directed to strengthen strategic relations and economic cooperation with France, Russia, the European Union, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR ) and other countries as well as the international and regional active organisations in the EU and American continents.

Cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the African Continent: 88- The Supreme Council commended the efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to achieve the outcomes of the Jeddah Peace Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

89- The Supreme Council hailed the support provided by the GCC countries to the African Sahel states (G5) to combat terrorism, lauding the development and humanitarian aid provided by the GCC to the African continent.

90- The Supreme Council welcomed the existing cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, in the Horn of Africa, and a number of African countries. The council directed the Secretariat General to take the necessary measures to complete the implementation of the Gulf Action Plan in the African continent and joint action plans previously approved in this regard.

Relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Asian Continent: 91- The Supreme Council expressed its satisfaction with the progress made in the strategic relations and economic cooperation with the countries of the Asian continent, particularly the People's Republic of China, Pakistan, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), hailing the Kingdom of Bahrain's accession to the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the, ASEAN, countries. The council directed the Secretariat General to complete the necessary procedures, plans and programmes to enhance cooperation with the Central Asian countries and other friendly countries and active organizations in the Asian continent.

The Supreme Council expressed its great appreciation of the great, sincere and distinguished efforts made by Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose work period will end at the end of March 2020, and his effective contributions to the course of joint work during his tenure.

The Supreme Council decided to appoint Dr. Naif bin Falah bin Mubarak Al-Hajraf, from the State of Kuwait, as Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States, as of April 1, 2020, wishing him all success in his new duties.

The Supreme Council offered its deep appreciation and gratitude of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Supreme Council's meeting and his government and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the generous hospitality and a good reception, and the sincere brotherhood feelings that the meeting enjoyed.

The Supreme Council expressed welcome to hold its the forty-first session, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, God willing.

Issued in the city of Riyadh December 10, 2019.

WAM/Hazem Hussein/MOHD AAMIR