NEW YORK, Sept 27 (KUNA) -- Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and his counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met late Saturday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss regional issues.
They were later joined by their counterparts from Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, and according to Secretary Clinton it was a "very productive" meeting whose aim was to "coordinate efforts to promote their shared vision of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Middle East, and to intensify their consultations as partners and friends." The GCC countries are Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
According to joint communique issued at the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers expressed support for Iraq as it prepares for 2010 national elections, and underlined the importance of regional support to the Iraqi government and people in their efforts to achieve a prosperous, united, and democratic Iraq that lives in peace with itself and with its neighbors and "respects its international obligations." It is worth mentioning that Iraq wants to come out from under Chapter VII, but the international community keeps reminding it that it has to comply with the remaining Security Council resolutions first before it is allowed to join the international fold.
The Ministers recognized that Iraq has made significant gains in the past year and expressed support for the Iraqi people and government as they face challenges, such as the horrific August 19 terrorist attacks on the foreign and finance ministries, and called for the prosecution of the perpetrators. "The Ministers categorically condemn all terrorist attacks and expressed support for every effort endeavoring at restoring peace, security, and stability in Iraq" and stressed the principle of non-interference in Iraq's internal affairs They welcomed the trilateral meeting among President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week and expressed their hope for rapid progress towards the resumption of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
They welcomed Obama's "important" statement before the UN General Assembly last Wednesday when he called for the re-launching of negotiations - without preconditions - that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. The ministers reiterated their call for a freeze on settlement activities and expressed their continued support for an independent, viable, and democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel, with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Road Map, and the Arab Peace Initiative. They reiterated their full support for the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and their efforts to build the institutions of a future state. They also reiterated their support for achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
They encouraged Iran to engage "constructively" and expressed hope that the planned meeting between Iran and the UN Security Council Permanent Members - P5 - and Germany, scheduled to take place on October 1 in Geneva, will "begin a process that resolves international concerns about Iran's nuclear activities.
" The ministers noted their "concern" for the situation in Yemen and expressed their full support for the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, for the unity, security, and stability of Yemen; and for efforts for a peaceful dialogue.
They underscored the importance of ensuring the security of civilians and relief workers, and the provision for the safe passage of emergency relief supplies to civilians affected by the conflict.
They reiterated their support for the Yemeni government's economic and governance reform initiatives, and their willingness to continue to assist Yemen in improving the lives of its people.
The ministers vowed to continue to meet annually on the sidelines of the General Assembly in order to exchange views and consider common approaches to key issues that "affect their shared goals for the region." (end) sj.aj KUNA 270904 Sep 09NNNN