Unofficial translation of
The Closing Statement of
the Twenty First Session of the GCC Supreme Council
The State of Bahrain - Manama
4-5 Shawwal 1422 AH /30- 31 December 2000 AD
In response to the gracious invitation by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al – Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain, the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) held its 21st session in Manama, the State of Bahrain, on Saturday and Sunday, from 4th to 5th Shawwal 1421 AH corresponding to 30th –31st December 2000 AD, under the Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al – Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain in the presence of Their Majesties and Highnesses:
His Highness Sheikh Maktoom bin Rashed Al - Maktoom
Vice President and Prime Minister of the State of United
Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai
His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al - Saud,
Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister and
Head of the National Guard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed,
Sultan of Oman
His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al - Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar
His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al - Ahmad Al - Jaber Al- Sabah
Emir of the State of Kuwait
H.E. Sheikh Jameel Ibrahim Al-Hejailan, Secretary – General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) also participated in the meeting.
Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC states expressed their happiness on the occasion of the return, after recuperation, of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, President of the State of the UAE, from his journey abroad undertaken for medical treatment, praying to Allah Almighty to grant His Highness abundant health and complete recovery and to assist him by His help and grant him success so that he may continue to lead the State of UAE and contribute towards serving the causes of the Arab and Islamic nation.
The Supreme Council examined the results of the process of collective action in the economic, social, political, military, security, cultural and information fields. The Council expressed its satisfaction at the achievements made, reiterating its desire and sincere will to enhance the joint process of the Council and propel it towards progress so as to keep pace with the regional and international changes, thus leading to the achievement of the aspirations and the higher goals embodied in the Founding Charter of the Council. It stressed upon the importance of continuation of the process of joint action so as to consolidate security, stability and development of the GCC states and its people.
The Process of Joint Cooperation:
The Supreme Council discussed the process of joint cooperation among the GCC states in the field of economy, on the basis of the reports and recommendations submitted to it by the Ministerial Council, the Ministerial Committees and the Secretariat - General. The Council directed the competent committees to reach an agreement soon on the principles, byelaws The Council lauded the steps taken by the State of Bahrain to lower the customs tariff in accordance with the directives of their Majesties and Highnesses, the Leaders of the GCC states, and in line with all the steps required to launch the Customs Union. and the necessary procedures for launching the Customs Union within the specified time frame. The Council lauded the steps taken by the State of Bahrain to lower the customs tariff in accordance with the directives of their Majesties and Highnesses, the Leaders of the GCC states, and in line with all the steps required to launch the Customs Union.
The Supreme Council discussed the process of joint cooperation among the GCC states in the field of economy on the basis of the reports and recommendations submitted to it by the Ministerial Council, the Ministerial Committees and the Secretariat-General. The Council directed the competent committees to reach an agreement soon on the principles, byelaws and the necessary procedures for launching the Customs Union within the specified time frame. The Council lauded the steps taken by the State of Bahrain to lower the customs tariff in accordance with the directives of their Majesties and Highnesses, the Leaders of the GCC states, and in line with all the steps required to launch the Customs Union.
Endeavoring to implement Article 22 of the Unified Economic Agreement that provides for bringing about coordination of the financial, monetary and banking policies; and to enhance cooperation among monetary institutions and the central banks, including working towards unifying the currency so that it complements the required economic integration; the Supreme Council approved the common anchor for the GCC currencies as a first step towards achieving the unification of the currency. The Council directed the Committee on Financial and Economic Cooperation, the Committee of Governors of the Financial Institutions and the Central Banks to make a plan of action, with a specified time frame to achieve that goal and to present it before the Council in its next session. It also directed the Committee of Governors to reach an agreement on the mechanisms and necessary procedures aimed at facilitating transactions using the currencies of the GCC states in the markets of the Member States.
The Supreme Council resolved to permit the natural and the naturalized citizens of the GCC states to practice all economic activities and professions except for a limited number of professions, which, at this stage, have been reserved for the citizens of the individual states only. It agreed to widen the scope of retail trade for the citizens of the GCC states in other GCC states through the ratification of “amended principles for the practice of retail trade by the GCC states.”
The Supreme Council extended the validity of the Unified Customs Regulation (“the Law”) as a reference model law for another year, on the condition that this regulation is implemented as a mandatory regulation in all GCC states beginning from January 2002 AD. It also ratified the Veterinary Quarantine Regulation and resolved to make its implementation mandatory after it was amended to meet the requirements of the laws and regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Supreme Council approved the “ Long Term Strategy for Negotiations with the other countries, regional blocs and international organizations”, and ratified the “ the Declaration of Common Principles among the GCC states and the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)” which has been signed by the two sides.
The Council studied the situation of the petroleum markets and noted with satisfaction the fruits of the efforts exerted by the GCC states, in cooperation with other countries in the Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) and with countries outside of the OPEC during the current year, to achieve a suitable balance between the interests of the producers and those of the consumers in the market; these efforts were lauded by the Caracas OPEC Summit. The Council declared that the Member States would continue to follow the same policy so that the market remains balanced, and the prices stable, during the agreed time period in the OPEC. In this respect, the Supreme Council directed the Petroleum & Energy Ministers to work towards cutting down production during the next meeting of the OPEC and to take other measures to maintain the balance of the market and to achieve the target price.
The Supreme Council emphasized upon the importance of cooperation between the producers and the consumers, and praised the outcome of the meetings of the seventh International Energy Forum, which was held recently in Riyadh. The Council welcomed the proposal of His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the National Guard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to establish the Secretariat – General for the Forum in Riyadh so that the dialogue between the producers and the consumers may be deepened.
Humanitarian & Environmental Affairs:
The Supreme Council agreed to treat the citizens of the GCC states working as part of the civil services in any Member State, at par with the citizen of the host country during the work period; this is in accordance with the privileges stated in the decision of the Ministers incharge of the central institutions of the civil services in the GCC states.
The Supreme Council stressed upon the need for the concerned authorities in the private and the public sectors to continue with increasing the work opportunities for the citizens, and to inform the Council about the progress made in this direction in its next session. The Council approved the recommendations and mechanisms which were laid down by the Joint Committee for Studying the Demographic Structure and the effects of immigrant workers and emphasized upon the need for the Member States to take necessary steps to implement those recommendations and mechanisms.
The Supreme Council approved the Common Curricula Development Program of the GCC, its procedures and mechanisms, which were submitted before it by the Ministers of Education and Training.
The Consultative Commission:
The Supreme Council took cognizance of the views of the Consultative Commission, and its assessment of the process of joint action in the field of economy among the Member States as well as its proposals to activate the Long Term Strategy for Comprehensive Development in as far as it concerns building the scientific and technological capacities in the GCC states. It decided to refer those views and proposals to the relevant Ministerial Committees in order to develop the joint economic process in its light. The Supreme Council assigned the Commission with the study of the following subjects:
Development of the Education System; Energy and Environ-ment; Water Strategies; Scientific and Technological Research; and to submit its views on theses subjects before the Ministerial Council.
The Supreme Council approved the Riyadh Document on the Unified Penal Code (the Law) in the GCC states as a reference model law for a period of four years. Also, the Council extended the validity of the Muscat Document on the Unified Civil Code (the Law) as a reference model law for a period of another 4 years.
The Supreme Council took cognizance of the measures taken and the studies completed, and expressed its satisfaction at the course of military cooperation in as far as it concerns the implementation of the practical steps for consolidating collective defense and military cooperation which culminated into the adoption of the Common Defense Agreement by the Council and the signing by their Majesties and Highnesses on it. The ratification will be done by Member States in accordance with the established procedures in each country.
The Supreme Council approved the resolutions passed in the meeting of Their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Interior that was held in Riyadh from 27th to 28th of Rajab 1421 AH corresponding to 24th to 25th October 2000 AD, especially those aspects related with the consolidation of the follow up mechanisms and communication among the interior ministries so as to facilitate the procedures for mobility of citizens and the flow of trade among the GCC states as well as enhancing cooperation in the field of combating drugs abuse.
The Supreme Council discussed the progress made by Iraq in the course of implementing the United Nations Security Council resolutions related to the prevailing situation between Kuwait and Iraq arising from the Iraqi occupation of the State of Kuwait.
Based on its keen desire to prepare conducive conditions for enhancing security, peace and stability in the Gulf region, the Sup- reme Council renewed its call on Iraq to understand the importance of fulfilling its obligations entailed on it by the provisions of the Security Council resolutions related to its cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Tripartite Commission so as to arrive at a quick and final solution to the problem of Kuwaiti Prisoners of War (POWs) and detainees as well those of other nations, renewing its demand from Iraq to return all Kuwaiti assets in its custody. The Council also asked Iraq to resume its cooperation with the United Nations and solve all pending issues related to the weapons of mass destruction and the means of monitoring. It called upon Iraq and the Security Council to enter into a comprehensive dialogue in order to implement these obligations in a just and comprehensive manner and on a sound basis; this would lead to the lifting of sanctions.
The Council emphasized upon the need for Iraq to respect the security and independence of the State of Kuwait, its sovereignty and its regional safety, urging Iraq to take all measures that demonstrate its good intentions towards the GCC states so that security and stability may be established in the region.
The Supreme Council renewed its constant welcome of and readiness to participate in all initiatives that tend to ameliorate the sufferings of the Iraqi people, reiterating its determination to continue with its endeavors aimed at putting an end to that suffering within the framework of the international resolutions.
The Supreme Council stressed upon the importance of respecting the independence of Iraq, its territorial integrity and regional safety and non – interference in its internal affairs.
The Supreme Council listened to the report presented by the Tripartite Committee, which was entrusted with the task of devising a mechanism to begin direct negotiations in order to solve the problem of Iranian occupation of the three islands belonging to the State of the UAE by peaceful means. The report dwelt upon the Iranian refusal to have any dealings with the Tripartite Committee on the mission assigned to it by the GCC, and its rejection of the peaceful initiatives made by the State of the UAE earlier.
After conducting a comprehensive assessment of the developments related to the problem of the Iranian occupation of the three islands, the Supreme Council resolved to assign the Ministerial Council with the task of looking into all peaceful means that lead to the restoration of the legitimate rights of the State of the UAE over the three islands, the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which continue to remain under the occupation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Council shall address the issue on the following bases:
Backing and supporting the right of the State of the UAE on its three islands, namely, the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa occupied by the Islamic Republic of Iran and rejecting the Iranian occupation of the three islands belonging to the State of UAE.
Reiterating the complete sovereignty of the State of UAE on the three islands on the ground that it is an integral part of the of the State of UAE, preserving its rights on those islands; and non-recognition of any sovereignty other than the sovereignty of the State of UAE on the three islands, its regional waters, continental shelf and the trade zone belonging to the three islands.
Rejecting the Iranian claims on the Abu Musa island and the action it has taken and its repercussions, considering those actions as being dangerous for the security and stability in the region and constituting a source of increasing tension. Similarly, absolute rejection by the GCC states of the Iranian occupation of the two islands, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb.
Condemning the Iranian encroachment and military exercises, which are provocative actions that threaten the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf and constitute a source of serious concern and do not help in confidence building.
Supporting all steps being taken by the State of the UAE in order to regain its sovereignty on its three islands through peaceful means based on the principle of collective security of the GCC states, and asking the Islamic Republic of Iran to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice.
The Supreme Council delved into the gory events taking place in the Palestinian territories due to the savage aggression and repressive measures, and the policy of closure and blockade being pursued by Israel against the brotherly Palestinian people, who are demanding their legitimate rights, including the right to return, and establishment of an independent state with the Holy Jerusalem as its capital. While the expressing its denunciation and condemnation of these aggressions, the Supreme Council demands that protection be provided to the Palestinian people from these aggressions, underscoring its abiding stand on the realization of comprehensive and just peace in the region, a peace based on the international legal resolutions, in particular, the UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace.
The Supreme Council also affirmed that comprehensive peace cannot be realized except by restoring all the legitimate rights of the Palestinians and by the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Holy Jerusalem as its capital, and by the complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the borderline existing on the 4th of June 1967, as well as completing the Israeli withdrawal from the Lebanese territories beyond the internationally recognized borders, including withdrawal from the Sheb’aa farms as per the provisions of the UNSC resolutions 425 and 426 and the release of all Lebanese prisoners in the Israeli jails.
The Supreme Council expressed its hope that the efforts which are presently being exerted would lead to a peace settlement that restores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, confirming its confidence in the Palestinian negotiator and appealing to the international community to exert more efforts to put pressure on Israel, asking it to show commitment to the values and principles laid down by the Madrid Conference. It also hoped that increased efforts of the international community would lead to the achievement of all legitimate rights of the Arabs.
The Supreme Council renewed its appeal to the international community to work towards making the Middle East region, including the Gulf region, free from all types of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The Council stressed upon the need for Israel to join the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and to subject all its nuclear installations to international inspections under the auspices of International Agency for Nuclear Energy (IAEA).
The Supreme Council expressed its support and backing for the resolutions of the 9th session of the Islamic Summit, held in Doha, the State of Qatar from 12th to 13th November 2000 AD. It also expressed its hope that the State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of State of Qatar, during his Chairmanship of the Summit of Islamic Conference, will emerge stronger through its handling of the proceedings with wisdom and conviction, in a manner that serves the interests of the Islamic ummah (nation) and increases its effectiveness as well as presence on the international scene.
The Supreme Council also expressed its immense appreciation and gratitude for the efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, and his brother, His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the National Guard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during its Chairmanship of the 20th session of the Supreme Council, and for the achievements that pushed forward the march of progress towards further development and prosperity for the peoples of the region.
The Supreme Council also expressed its immense appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al- Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain, and to his Government and people for the kind reception, welcome, generous hospitality and the feelings of fraternity with which the leaders of the GCC states were received. The leaders of the GCC states praised the care and attention given by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain and Chairman of the current session to this meeting, and lauded his wise management of the proceedings of the meetings which had the greatest effect on reaching important results and resolutions. They expressed their confidence that the State of Bahrain, under the guidance of His Highness, will contribute plentifully during His Chairmanship of the proceedings of this session in strengthening the process of joint action, taking it to newer horizons in a manner that it achieves the aspirations and hopes of the people of the GCC states.
The Supreme Council looks forward to meeting in its 22nd session to be held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman in the month of December 2001, Allah willing, in response to the gracious invitation by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed, Sultan of Oman.
Issued in Manama
5th Shawwal 1421AH
31st December 2000
The Manama Declaration on
Enhancing the Joint Process of the GCC
5-4 Shawwal 1421 AH
30-31 December 2000 AD
The Supreme Council, recognizing the importance of the warm fraternal relations, strong historic links and a common destiny that binds its countries and peoples together; and
Based on the principles set forth in its Founding Charter, which aim at enhancing coordination and cooperation between the Member States in various fields, leading to integration and unity; and
Confident of the contributions that will be made by His Highness Sheikh Issa Al-Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain, in terms of consolidating and strengthening the march of progress of the Council during his Chairmanship of the next session, propelling it towards newer horizons, and enabling it to deal positively with the rapid and successive changes which are being imposed by the current wave of globalization at political, economic, social and cultural levels; and
Complementing the pronouncements of the Riyadh Declaration issued in the 20th session;
The Supreme Council, in its 21st session, held in Manama, the state of Bahrain on Saturday and Sunday from 30th to 31st December 2000 AD, examined the march of progress in the various sectors in context of the goals set forth in its Founding Charter as well as the Common Economic Agreement. It also examined all the issues that are concerned with the GCC states and peoples in light of the developments taking place in the Middle East and the international arena.
The Supreme Council, expresses its appreciation of the steps taken by the Member States in consonance with its resolutions, and praises the efforts exerted by the Ministerial Council and the Ministerial Committees working within the framework of the Council in order to build a solid economic, cultural and social base that meets the demands of the next stage, thereby enhancing the process of the collective action;
Therefore, the Supreme Council declares the importance of implementing the following:
First: Consolidation of the joint process of the of the GCC by bringing about more coordination, cooperation, cohesion and integration through the adoption of the unified strategies in the political, economic, security, military, social media, cultural, and scientific spheres, guided by the unity of purpose and the common destiny.
Second: Establishing the principle of common security by consolidating coordination and cooperation in the fields of defense and security in order to protect its national security, and to maintain the independence of its states, their sovereignty and territorial integrity under a Common Defense Agreement among the GCC states and abiding by its provisions.
Third: Taking steps to bring about a unified Gulf market, which cannot remain uninfluenced by the effects emanating from the world economy, enabling it to deal with the major economic entities by reviewing the reference model laws and regulations and transforming them, after assessment, into collective regulations and legislations in accordance with shared principles and within a specific time frame.
Fourth: Giving priority in the next phase of the joint process and cooperation to the economic sectors in line with what is termed as the new economy and one that is based on knowledge and technology. In particular, sectors like information technology, communications and e-commerce should receive priority as it is expected that these sectors will constitute one of the mainstays of economic growth in future. This is a matter that necessitates adoption of policies and steps, which give the GCC states a relative advantage and lead in attracting and adapting these economic and trade activities.
Fifth: Giving consideration to accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union by agreeing on the common anchor for pegging the currencies of the GCC states, and coordinating the financial, monetary and economic policies in order to pave the way for arriving at a common currency for the GCC states and the establishment of monetary union among them.
Sixth: Giving consideration to accelerating the process of establishing the Customs Union, and unification of the customs tariff, which was agreed upon in the 20th summit in Riyadh. Likewise the launch of the Common Gulf Market should be speeded up.
Seventh: Effecting coordination among the GCC states in studying the commitments and pledges given by the GCC states to the World Trade Organization as part of the agreements made with it, and laying down an appropriate time schedule to begin implementation of those commitments among the GCC states.
Eighth: Studying the possibility of establishing effective mechanisms to deal with the settlement of disputes related with the implementation of the economic agreement among the GCC states and the resolutions passed by the Supreme Council on economic matters, referred to it, while at the same time giving greater role to the Trade Arbitration Center of the GCC states.
Ninth: Revising the procedure of reaching at consensus on taking economic decisions especially since the GCC states have made tremendous strides in the joint process.
Allah is the Grantor of All Success,
Issued in Manama
5 Shawwal 1421 AH
31 December 2000