Miscellaneous

Bahrain Foreign Minister, GCC Secretary General hold press conference: BNA

Manama, 25 Dec. 2012 (WAM) – Foreign Minister of Bahrain Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa described today the GCC United Military Command as an umbrella bringing together “the Peninsula Shield Forces as well as the air and naval forces” of the GCC member states in terms of coordination, planning and command.

According to Bahrain News Agency (BNA), Sheikh Khalid, who was speaking at a press conference, held jointly today with GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani after the concluding session of the GCC Summit which convened at Al-Sakhir Palace, said what has been agreed on by the GCC Joint Defence Council is clear and stipulates the creation of the GCC United Military Command, in Bahrain, that consists of “the Peninsula Shield Forces as well as joint air and naval coordination.” It is an entity that will bring all efforts together under one umbrella,” he explained, pointing out that the Peninsula Shield will always remain there, being a main pillar in joint defence work.

Concerning the Gulf Union, he said a team comprising an elite of three from every GCC member state has been working on mapping out a structure for it and drawing up visions since Riyadh summit last year.

“We are still in the preliminary phase. The GCC march is always prudent as its takes into consideration the attitudes of all the GCC countries,” he stressed, pointing out that the idea was adopted at Riyadh summit and needs further work to complete it.

Regarding the Gulf development programme for Bahrain, he said things are on the right path, pointing out a prospective meeting with the Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim to discuss details.

He also reiterated Bahrain’s appreciation to the GCC support to ensure progress and prosperity of the GCC people, stressing that the Gulf countries have no plan to face the “Muslims Brothers” group or any other as all efforts are focused on developing the GCC countries and bettering the living conditions of the people.

He urged journalists and media persons to confront the fierce media war waged against some Gulf countries by unveiling the truths, pointing out coordination among the GCC Information Ministers in this regard.

He demanded accuracy in disclosing information, stressing that fallacies may be misused by some parties in the world to project a wrong image of the Gulf countries internal situation.

He affirmed efforts to keep communication with Iran didn’t and will never stop, pointing out that Iran is a neighbourly country with which Bahrain has historic relations.

However, he said, those relations always undergo different phases. “Nowadays, there are certain differences which have been revealed in the GCC Summit’s concluding communique. Yet, he added, “the GCC countries are keen to have sound relations with Iran.

The Foreign Minister underlined the need to respect countries’ sovereignty and renounce any confrontational approach, pointing out that the concluding communique underscored Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear power while stressing the need for safe nuclear plants which could pose a danger even in time of peace.

He affirmed that the GCC countries’ stance regarding UAE’s three islands which are occupied by Iran has always been clear stressing the need to end occupation-be it through direct negotiations or by resorting to the International Court of Justice.

He lauded deep-rooted, historic brotherly relations between the GCC member states and Egypt, reiterating commitment to further enhancing them.

Regarding the Syrian issue, he described the GCC stance as an integral part of the harmonious Arab and international stance in this respect, pointing out a call by Kuwaiti Amir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah to hold a high profile meeting by end of next month in Kuwait to provide humanitarian support to the Syrian people, in line with the directives of UN Chief Ban Ki-moon during his recent visit to Kuwait.

On his part, the GCC Secretary General commended the constructive, positive and hopeful spirit which characterized the GCC Summit.

Concerning the security agreement and the probability of it being rejected by the GCC legislative councils, he said the agreement was called “the amended security agreement” so that it harmonizes with local and national constitutions and laws.

He added the agreement takes into consideration all constitutions of the GCC countries, stressing its importance in combating crimes and backing economic integration which requires a safe and stable environment.

As for the GCC United Military Command, he explained that mechanisms and methods for its creation will be determined.

Concerning the Customs Union, he said work is in progress to ensure it becomes effective in January 2015.

He also stressed the GCC leaders’ care for Yemen and support for Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansoor Hedi’s decisions, issued within the framework of the GCC initiative.

WAM/MAB

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