The GCC Ministerial Council held its 155th session on Wednesday 30 Shaaban 1444H, corresponding to March 22, 2023, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat, headed by Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister of the Sultanate of Oman, Chairman of the current session of the Ministerial Council, and witnessed the participation of Their Highnesses and Excellencies:
His Excellency Mr. Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates,
His Excellency Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain,
His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar,
His Excellency Shaikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait,
And His Excellency Mr Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the GCC, where the Ministerial Council congratulated His Excellency for the high confidence of Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the GCC states in appointing him as the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council, wishing him success in his duties.
The Ministerial Council expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the victims of the earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, causing great loss of life and infrastructure, affirming the support of the GCC countries with the Turkish and Syrian peoples, and noting that the solidarity and the official and popular support of the GCC countries for the afflicted and affected by the earthquake stem from their great and extended role in humanitarian and relief work.
The Ministerial Council condemned the repeated burning of copies of the Holy Qur’an in a number of European capitals in recent times, stressing the importance of the governments of those countries addressing the practices that provoke the feelings of millions of Muslims around the world. The Council commended the decision unanimously taken by the United Nations General Assembly to adopt March 15 of each year, starting in 2023, to combat Islamophobia, during which a culture of religious tolerance, dialogue and coexistence is spread.
Moreover, the Council also welcomed the results of the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum in its third session, which was organised by the King Salman for Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRRelief), in partnership with the United Nations, to promote collective humanitarian action and provide urgent development assistance. It also welcomed the "Manama Declaration" issued by the Inter-Parliamentary Union meetings hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain on March 11-15, 2023, under the slogan " Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Inclusive Societies: Fighting Intolerance". The Council also hailed the outcomes of the meetings of the second part of the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), which was hosted by the State of Qatar on March 5-9, 2023, at the level of heads of states and governments.
The Ministerial Council reviewed developments related to joint Gulf action, and developments in regional and international political issues, as follows:
Strengthening Joint Gulf Action:
1.The Ministerial Council was briefed on the efforts exerted by the committees working within the framework of the Cooperation Council to implement the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with respect to the promotion of joint Gulf action, which was adopted by the Supreme Council at its 36th session in December 2015, and directed the prompt completion of its implementation.
2.The Ministerial Council affirmed that the family is the main factor in the formation of society, in education and instilling values and morals. It represents a strong link to the social fabric and its cohesion, in addition to being a real catalyst for development and prosperity. It stressed the importance of continuing and developing positive interaction and influence with the peoples of the world, preserving the principle of mutual respect for cultures and their diversity, and confronting intrusive and destructive ideologies through national and collective plans concerned with fortifying the GCC society, and contributing to enriching human civilisation and advancing moral ideals and good cultural norms, according to the wise approach followed by the leaders of the GCC states within the GCC system.
3.The Ministerial Council approved the general framework for the tasks and responsibilities of the Joint Charitable Work Committee in the GCC countries.
4.The Ministerial Council reviewed the process of economic integration and development, and stressed the importance of continuing to complete the requirements for completing the Customs Union, and applying full equality in treatment between citizens of the GCC countries in the areas of the GCC Common Market.
5.The Ministerial Council was briefed on the work progress of the steps to achieve joint military integration between the armed forces of the GCC countries, and the continued completion of the requirements of the Unified Military Command and its units and centres affiliated to it. The Council welcomed the appointment of the President of the Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, and taking the necessary measures to hold the first Gulf Défense Course in September 2023. It also welcomed the formation of the GCC Defence Industries Committee.
6.The Ministerial Council approved the formation of the Heads of Military Pension Agencies Committee in the GCC States to follow up on the implementation of the unified system for extending insurance protection to military personnel.
7.The Ministerial Council affirmed its firm positions and decisions towards terrorism, whatever its source, and its rejection of all its forms, motives and justifications, and to work to dry up its sources of financing, support international efforts to combat terrorism, and the participation of the GCC countries in the International Coalition Against ISIS. The Council affirmed that tolerance and coexistence among nations and peoples is one of the most important principles and values upon which the societies of the GCC countries are built, and in its dealings with other peoples.
8.The Ministerial Council condemned the terrorist operations against the Republic of Iraq targeting civilians and the Iraqi security forces, and affirmed the support of the Cooperation Council to Iraq in the fight against terrorism.
9.The Ministerial Council condemned the terrorist operations against the Federal Republic of Somalia, and affirmed the support of the Cooperation Council to the brotherly Somali people to combat terrorism.
10.The Ministerial Council condemned all terrorist operations against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, targeting innocent civilians and civilian facilities such as schools, places of worship and hospitals, stressing the solidarity of the Cooperation Council with the brotherly people of Afghanistan in fighting all terrorist organisations, and strengthening security and stability in their lands.
11.The Ministerial Council condemned the continued foreign support for terrorist groups and sectarian militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and others, which threaten Arab national security, destabilise the region, and impede the work of the International Coalition Against ISIS.
Iranian Occupation of the Three Islands of the United Arab Emirates:
12.The Ministerial Council affirmed the GCC’s firm positions and decisions rejecting Iran’s continued occupation of the three islands of the United Arab Emirates; the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, stressing support for the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands, territorial waters, airspace, continental shelf, and economic zone, as an indivisible part from the territory of the United Arab Emirates, and considering that any practices or actions carried out by Iran on the three islands are null, void and have no effect on the right of the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands. The Ministerial Council called on 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.
The Palestinian Cause:
13.The Ministerial Council affirmed its firm positions on the centrality of the Palestinian Cause, its support for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all Palestinian territories occupied since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Al Quds as its capital, and the guarantee of refugee rights, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and international legitimacy resolutions, stressing the need to double the efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict, in a way that fulfils all the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people according to those foundations.
14.The Ministerial Council condemned the escalation of repeated Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, including the crimes committed recently in the city and camp of Jenin, and in Nablus region, especially in the towns of Hawara, Burin, Asira Al Qibliya and others, which claimed the lives of a number of martyrs and wounded dozens of Palestinian civilians, and the demolition of homes and places of worship, and destruction of property. The Council also condemned the racist statements of the Israeli Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, which called for the destruction of what remains of the Palestinian village of Hawara. The Council called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to cease the escalation and provide the necessary protection for the Palestinian people.
15.The Ministerial Council welcomed the presidential statement issued by the Security Council on February 20, 2023, rejecting the dangerous approaches and policies pursued by Israel in increasing settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.
16.The Ministerial Council condemned the repeated incursions by Israeli settlers into the courtyards of the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque, in a serious violation of international law and the existing historical and legal status in Al Quds and its sanctities, and a violation of the sanctity of the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque and a provocation of the feelings of Muslims.
17.The Ministerial Council called on the international community to intervene to stop the targeting of the Palestinian presence in the city of Al Quds, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Al Quds, attempts to change its legal character, demographic composition, and arrangements for Islamic holy places, and the attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty over them in clear violation of the international law, international resolutions, and the existing concluded agreements. The Council stressed the need to stop unilateral measures on the part of Israel and denounced the announcement of the Israeli Minister of National Security with respect to the continued demolition of Palestinian homes in Al Quds during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
18.The Ministerial Council condemned the Israeli escalation in building settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the recent approval by the Israeli authorities of a draft law on February 12, 2023, to build a number of settlement outposts and plans to build thousands of new settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the city of Al Quds. It also condemned the decision of the Israeli Knesset on March 21, 2023, which enables the return to four settlements from which the Israeli occupation forces had previously seized in the West Bank, constituting a violation of international legitimacy resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution No. 2334, and calling on the international community to pressure the Israeli authorities to retract Its settlement decisions that are in violation of international laws and resolutions.
19.The Ministerial Council expressed its rejection of any tendency to annex settlements in the West Bank to Israel, in clear violation of the United Nations Charter, principles of international law and United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolution No. 2334 of 2016, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 2004, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
20.The Ministerial Council praised the generous assistance provided by the GCC countries to support the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and called on the international community to continue supporting it to continue its mission until the return of the Palestinian refugees.
21.The Ministerial Council reiterated the decisions of the Respected Supreme Council during its 43rd session in December 2022, with respect to relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
22.The Ministerial Council welcomed the agreement reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in Beijing at the initiative of the Chinese President His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping, which includes the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the reopening of their missions, and the activation of the security and economic cooperation agreements between the two countries. The Council hoped that this agreement would constitute a positive step for resolving differences and ending all regional conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic means, and establishing relations between countries on the basis of understanding, mutual respect, good neighbourliness, respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and adherence to the charters of the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and international laws and norms.
23.The Ministerial Council appreciated the efforts of the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Iraq for hosting the Saudi-Iranian dialogue rounds during the years 2021-2022, and the efforts of the People’s Republic of China to sponsor and host the talks that resulted in the agreement to resume Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations, and the Council aspired to this step contributing to enhancing security and peace in the region.
24.The Ministerial Council stressed the importance of Iran's commitment not to exceed the rate of uranium enrichment required for peaceful uses, and the need to fulfil its obligations and fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Council also affirmed the GCC countries’ readiness to cooperate and deal effectively with this file, and stressed the need for their participation in all regional and international negotiations, discussions and meetings in this regard, and that the negotiations include, in addition to the Iranian nuclear programme, all security issues and concerns of the GCC states, in a way that contributes to achieving common goals and interests in A framework of respect for sovereignty, good neighbourliness policies, and adherence to United Nations resolutions and international legitimacy to ensure strengthening regional and international security and stability.
25.The Council stressed the importance of preserving maritime security and waterways in the region, and addressing everything that might threaten the shipping lanes, international trade, and oil installations in the GCC states.
26.The Ministerial Council affirmed its full support for the Presidential Leadership Council and the entities supporting it in achieving security and stability in Yemen, and called on the Houthis to respond to the invitation made by the Presidential Leadership Council, to negotiate under the supervision of the United Nations to reach a political solution, in accordance with the GCC initiative and its Executive Mechanism, the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the Security Council Resolution 2216, in a way that preserves brotherly Yemen's sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and independence.
27.The Ministerial Council praised the recent visits of His Excellency Dr Rashad Mohammed Al Alimi, President of the Presidential Leadership Council of the Republic of Yemen, to a number of European countries and his meeting with officials in those countries and their affirmation of supporting the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council in carrying out its duties, and their support for its efforts to restore legitimacy authority, achieving peace, security, stability and development in Yemen, and meeting the aspirations of its people.
28.The Ministerial Council welcomed the issuance of Security Council Resolution 2675 on February 15, 2023, in which it reaffirmed commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, renewed the measures imposed by Security Council Resolution 2140, and extended the asset freeze and travel ban measures in Yemen until November 15, 2023, the mandate of the Panel of Experts until December 15, 2023, in addition to confirming the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2216
29.The Ministerial Council renewed its support for the efforts of the United Nations led by its Special Envoy to Yemen, Mr. Hans Grundberg, and the efforts of the US Special Envoy to Yemen, Mr. Tim Lenderking, to reach a political solution in accordance with the three terms of reference, and praised the Yemeni government's adherence to renewing the humanitarian truce announced by the United Nations in Yemen, and welcomed the announcement by the United Nations Special Envoy on March 21, 2023, that an agreement had been reached between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia to exchange 887 prisoners, in implementation of what was agreed upon between the two sides in Stockholm in December 2018, calling for international pressure on the Houthis to lift the siege on the city of Taiz and open humanitarian crossings therein, as stipulated in the United Nations armistice. The Council appreciated the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy to renew the armistice in line with the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced in March 2021, to end the crisis in Yemen, cease fire and reach a comprehensive political solution, calling on the United Nations Special Envoy to take a firm stance towards the Houthi practices, which contradict the efforts of the United Nations and the countries of the region to bring peace to Yemen.
30.In continuation of the previous grants provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totalling USD 4.2 billion, the Ministerial Council commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s announcement of depositing USD1 billion to the Central Bank of Yemen, earmarked to cover the import of basic food commodities. It also commended the third batch of the oil derivatives grant 45 (1,000 metric tonnes of diesel and 30,000 metric tonnes of mazut) provided by the Saudi Programme for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, as an affirmation of the GCC countries' keenness to achieve security, stability and development for the brotherly Yemeni people.
31.The Ministerial Council commended the United Arab Emirate’s announcement of supporting recovery and rehabilitation projects for the current year in the amount of USD 325 million dollars, targeting the healthcare, renewable energy and agriculture sectors, and the State of Qatar’s pledge to establish 10 mobile schools to support education in Yemen and the signing of an agreement worth USD 10 million euros to expand the youth entrepreneurship support and financial inclusion project, and the State of Kuwait’s announcement to provide three additional grants worth USD 5 million through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, with the aim of supporting infrastructure sectors, economic recovery programmes, and improving Yemeni port facilities. The Ministerial Council also reaffirmed the importance of brotherly and friendly countries participating in providing economic, humanitarian and development support to the Republic of Yemen, to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people.
32.The Ministerial Council praised the achievements of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), the development projects implemented by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Programme for Yemen, the humanitarian support provided by the Office for the Coordination of Relief and Humanitarian Aid provided by the Cooperation Council to the Republic of Yemen, and the humanitarian and development assistance provided by all the GCC member states which has exceeded (36) billion dollars. Moreover, the Ministerial Council valued the efforts of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) to clear Yemeni lands of mines, which, since its launch in June 2018, managed to remove more than (389,706) mines, ammunition and explosive devices randomly planted by the Houthi militia.
33.The Ministerial Council condemned the continued foreign interference in the internal affairs of Yemen, and the smuggling of military experts and weapons to the Houthi terrorist militia in clear violation of Security Council Resolutions 2216, 2231 and 2624, noting the announcement made by the Yemeni security services on January 23, 2023, of the seizure of a shipment of military equipment that includes (100) engines for drones that were on their way to the Houthi militia, and the British government revealed on February 13, 2023, that it had dismantled the code of a drone smuggled from Iran to the Houthi militia in Yemen, in addition to the two shipments of weapons previously seized by its ship HMS Montrose. The Council also highlighted the announcement made by the French Navy of confiscating a boat loaded with Iranian weapons and ammunition on January 15, 2023, that was on its way to the Houthi militia, carrying more than three thousand rifles, a half million bullets and 20 anti-tank missiles. Moreover, the Council indicated the US Navy's announcement which was made on January 10, 2023, uncovering that it intercepted a ship sailing in international waters from Iran to Yemen and had 2116 assault rifles on board. It also pointed out the US Fifth Fleet's announcement on January 31, 2023 of the seizure of a fishing vessel in international waters that was heading to the terrorist Houthi militia and carrying on its board a large amount of drugs, including (4,000) kilograms of hashish and 512 kilograms of methamphetamine. The Ministerial Council affirmed that these crimes are an escalation by the Houthi terrorist militia.
34.The Ministerial Council urged the United Nations to start implementing its operational plan to deal with the floating storage and offloading unit (FSO) Safer, and not to delay in order to avoid any emergency that may occur and result in oil leakage from the unit. The Ministerial Council also stressed the importance of including effective response procedures compatible with the best international practices to transfer the oil from Safer to an alternative tanker.
35.The Ministerial Council stressed its firm positions and decisions towards brotherly Iraq, and its support for the existing efforts to combat terrorism and achieve security and stability in the country. The Ministerial Council underscored the importance of protecting the integrity and territorial integrity of Iraq, its full sovereignty, Arab-Islamic identity, social fabric and national unity. The Ministerial Council reiterated its support for Iraq's efforts towards confronting terrorist groups and armed militias in order to preserve the state's sovereignty and ensure law enforcement.
36.The Ministerial Council condemned the repeated external aggressions and missile attacks against the Republic of Iraq, which threaten its security and stability. The Council stressed the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, underscoring the Council states stand united by brotherly Iraq.
37.The Ministerial Council stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and non-violation of international resolutions and agreements, in particular Security Council Resolution No. 833 regarding the demarcation of the borders between the two countries and the agreement regulating maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah which was signed between the two countries and deposited with the United Nations. The Council called on the Republic of Iraq to complete the demarcation of the maritime borders with the State of Kuwait beyond Mark 162, expressing its categorical rejection of any violation affecting the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and preserving its right to respond in accordance with legal channels.
38.The Ministerial Council reiterated its support for Security Council Resolution No. 2107 (2013), regarding the transfer of the file of prisoners and missing persons, Kuwaiti property and the national archive to the United Nations Mission (UNAMI), expressing its aspiration that Iraq will continue cooperation to ensure progress in all files, and calling on Iraq and the United Nations to produce maximum efforts in order to reach a solution towards these files.
39.The Ministerial Council underlined its firm positions towards preserving the territorial integrity of the brotherly Syrian Arab Republic, respecting its independence and sovereignty over its lands, rejecting regional interference in its internal affairs, and supporting a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolution No. 2254. The Council expressed its support for the efforts of the Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen in this regard, and backing for the endeavours exerted to provide care for Syrian refugees and displaced persons and work to ensure their safe return to their cities and villages, in accordance with international standards. The Council rejected any attempts to make demographic changes in Syria.
40.The Ministerial Council stressed the importance of continuing all efforts to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Syrian people, welcoming Security Council Resolution No. 2642 which was issued on January 9, 2023, regarding extending the mandate of the mechanism for the delivery of UN humanitarian aid across the border from Turkey to Syria for a period of six months until the end of June 2023.
41.The Ministerial Council stressed the GCC's firm commitment to stand with the brotherly Lebanese people and its continued support for Lebanon's sovereignty, security and stability, and for the Lebanese Armed Forces that protect its borders and resist the threats of extremist and terrorist groups. The Ministerial Council highlighted the importance of implementing comprehensive structural reforms that ensure that Lebanon overcomes its political and economic crisis and that it does not become a launching pad for terrorism, drug smuggling, or other criminal activities that threaten the security and stability of the region, stressing the importance of extending the Lebanese government’s control over all Lebanese territories, including the implementation of the provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Taif Agreement, in order for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so there will be no weapons except with the approval of the Lebanese government, and there will be no authority other than its authority, and Lebanon will not be a starting point for any actions targeting the security and stability of the region.
42.The Supreme Council called on all Lebanese parties to respect the constitutional deadlines and the Lebanese people's aspirations to elect a president for the country in accordance with the Lebanese constitution, in addition to their prospects for stability, progress and prosperity, praising the efforts of Lebanon’s friends and partners to restore confidence and enhance cooperation between Lebanon and the GCC countries, and their support for the role of the Lebanese army and internal security forces in safeguarding security.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD):
43.The Supreme Council underscored that the water security of the Republic of Sudan and the Arab Republic of Egypt is an integral part of Arab national security, rejecting any action or measure that would prejudice their rights in the Nile waters. The Supreme Council also affirmed the support of the GCC countries for all endeavours that would contribute to resolving the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue in a manner that takes into account the interests of all parties, stressing the need to reach an agreement in this regard in accordance with the principles of international law and what was stipulated in the presidential statement of the Security Council issued on September 15, 2021.
44.The Ministerial Council affirmed the firm positions and decisions of the Cooperation Council regarding the importance of preserving the security, safety and stability of Sudan, protecting the cohesion of the state and its institutions, supporting Sudan in facing economic challenges, and achieving the aspirations of its brotherly people.
45.The Ministerial Council commended the international efforts of the tripartite mechanism (the United Nations Mission in Sudan, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development), the quartet partners (the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom), and the Friends of Sudan Group, with the aim of reaching a consensus between the political parties in order to end the crisis and achieving security and stability in Sudan. The Ministerial Council called on the Sudanese parties to respond to these efforts, continue dialogue and achieve consensus to complete the political process, to reach a final agreement that meets the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people and enhances the country's security, stability and prosperity in all fields.
46.The Supreme Council reiterated its firm positions and decisions regarding the Libyan crisis, underlining its keenness to preserve the interests of the brotherly Libyan people to achieve security, stability and development in Libya, to guarantee its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, to stop interference in its internal affairs, and for the exit of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan territory, support the efforts of the United Nations Envoy Abdoulaye Bathily to reach a political solution, hold elections and unify state institutions in order to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people and to lay the foundations for security and stability.
47.The Supreme Council emphasised the importance of restoring security and stability in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and reaching a consensual political solution that takes into account the interests of all components of the Afghan people, in a way that achieves the aspirations of the brotherly Afghan people, and benefits regional and international peace and security, and calls on the de-facto authority to implement its obligations to ensure women's right to education and work, to protect minorities, and to ensure that Afghan lands are not used by any terrorist groups, or Afghan lands are exploited for the export of narcotics.
The Crisis between Russia and Ukraine:
48.The Ministerial Council praised the mediation efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the successful visits paid by His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Russia and Ukraine. The Council underlined its support for the cease-fire efforts, the political solution to the crisis, giving priority to dialogue and settling the dispute through negotiations.
49.The Ministerial Council commended all efforts and calls for peace and stopping the war in Ukraine, and encouraging both sides of the conflict to engage into a diplomatic dialogue to end the war and the conflict in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter, to restore security, peace and stability in the European continent and to maintain international peace and security.
50.The Supreme Council affirmed that the position of the Cooperation Council on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is based on the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, the preservation of the international system based on respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and non-use or threat of force.
51.The Ministerial Council commended the humanitarian and relief aid provided by the GCC countries to Ukraine.
52.The Ministerial Council welcomed the extension of the grain export agreement from Russia and Ukraine across the Black Sea, and expressing support for this agreement to facilitate the export of grain, all foodstuffs and humanitarian supplies to contribute to providing food security for the affected countries.
Strategic Partnerships and Negotiations:
53.The Council stressed the importance of strengthening partnership relations, cooperation and strategic dialogue with all brotherly and friendly countries, noting the outcomes of the meetings of the joint working groups between the Cooperation Council and the United States of America, related to Iran, combating terrorism, maritime security and air defence, which were held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat on February 13-16, 2023, and the trade and investment dialogue that was held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat on March 9, 2023, within the framework of the strategic partnership between the Cooperation Council and the United States.
54.The Ministerial Council underlined the meetings held between the GCC and the European Union (EU) during the months of February and March 2023 within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides, and the preparation for the convening of the 27th session of the Joint GCC-EU Council of Foreign Ministers in the Sultanate of Oman.
55.The Ministerial Council was briefed on the results of the strategic dialogue meetings with India and Pakistan, which were held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat on March 20-21, 2023.
56.The Ministerial Council underscored the progress made in the free trade negotiations between the GCC and international economic groups and countries.
Issued at the General Secretariat of the GCC
On Wednesday, 30 Shaaban 1444H, corresponding to March 22, 2023.
Source: Saudi Press Agency