Nawab Khan

(with photos) BRUSSELS, Sept 19 (KUNA) -- A parliamentary delegation from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met here Wednesday with the President of the European Parliament, Marin Schulz, and discussed political, economic and parliamentary relations between the two sides.
The EU Parliament and the GCC MPs strongly condemned the anti-Islam film which was made in the US and they called for better understanding between followers of different faiths and religion.
"We had a very fruitful and open minded exchange of views. This is a very important meeting because the relations between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council is economically, politically and from a parliamentarian point of view of the highest importance in the turbulent times we are facing ," Schulz told reporters after the meeting.
"We are representing two of the decisive regions of the world," he stressed.
"We agreed about the necessary condemnation of the blasphemous and humiliating anti Islam movie. I condemn strongly not only the content and the distribution of such a movie which is really humiliating the feelings of a lot of people all over the world.," said the EP President.
He said both sides also condemned the violence that erupted during demonstrations against the film.
"We also agreed to learn from each other and therefore parliamentarian cooperation between the two sides is important to understand better the religious beliefs and political opinion," said Schulz.
He noted that Islam and western values are not excluding each other. "We must learn from each other and we must combine our values and views for a peaceful future, " he said.
On his part, Khalid bin Hilal Al Mawali Chairman of the Majles in Oman, told reporters that the meeting " is equally important for us in the GCC as this is the first collective visit of GCC parliamentarians to the European Union." He said we need to eradicate any cause of violence such as blasphemous movies and disrespect of sacred symbols of any religion, and promote mutual understanding.
In reply tot KUNA's question as to what steps the international community can take to avoid provocations and insults to religions and faiths, the EP President replied that "we must find a way to convince maximum of our citizens independent of their beliefs to respect and tolerate other beliefs, opinion and religion." "The best way is that those who are public representatives take the widest possible distance and to show outmost preparedness to learn to understand better the other side. We must convince our societies to take distance from such people." he added.
Replying to a question by a journalist as to why Saudi Arabia was absent from the meeting of the Quartet on Syria held in Cairo on Monday, Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al Sheikh, Speaker of Saudi Shura Council, said the Quarter is discussing "a very complicated issue and we do believe that it will not be solved by one session or one meeting." "Saudi Arabia has accepted to participate in this committee but this was only one of the series of meetings and our absence does not mean our rejection of the committe, " he explained.
Meanwhile, the 12-member GCC parliamentary delegation held a meeting today morning with the EP's foreign affairs committee.
Speaking to KUNA, Kuwaiti MP Saleh Al Omair described the meeting as historic noting that it was for first time that a delegation from the GCC representing their peoples met their counterparts from Europe.
"It was a successful meeting because we clarified many points and issues that was raised by the members of the European Parliament, " he said.
Such visits should new increase between the two sides to discuss and remove any misunderstandings, added the Kuwaiti MP.
On her part, Angelika Niebler, chair of the EP's Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula , told KUNA that she highly appreciated that the GCC delegation came to Brussels and had the chance to meet our colleagues.
"I appreciate the openness by which we had the chance to get into the dialogue and debate. We talked about Syria, Palestine , Israel , Bahrain. I am very content that we had this meeting," said the German MEP.
"The debate is moving in the right direction and everybody is committed to deepen our relations with the GGC countries and this is a promising start, " added Niebler.
The GCC parliamentarians are to meet the President of the EU Council Herman Van Rompuy later today.
Tomorrow they will meet European Commission officials and also visit the Belgian Parliament. (end) KUNA 191642 Sep 12NNNN