Unofficial translation of
The Closing Statement of
the Twenty Second Session of the GCC Supreme Council
Sultanate of Oman - Muscat
16 Shawwal 1422 AH / 31 December 2001 AD
In response to the gracious invitation by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed, Sultan of Oman, the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) held its 22nd session in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman on 15-16 (Sunday and Monday) Shawwal 1422 AH corresponding to 30-31 December 2001 AD, under the Chairmanship of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed, Sultan of Oman 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 Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al - Khalifa
Emir of the ٍٍٍState of Bahrain
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 Highness Sheikh Hamd bin Khalifa Al – Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar
His Excellency Shiekh Sabah Al – Ahmad Al – Jaber Al – Sabah
Representative of His Highness
Sheikh Jaber Al – Ahmad Al Jaber Al- Sabah
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 Royal Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC states, expressed their sincere congratulations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of completion of 20 years of his rule, lauding the tremendous achievements made during his rule in all segments of economy, construction and culture; praying to Allah Almighty to grant him abundant health and well – being so that he may increase his contributions towards enhancing security and stability for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brotherly people, and continue to be a part of the beneficial joint process of the GCC.
Their Majesties and Highnesses also expressed their happiness on the safety of His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of the Sate of Kuwait and the disappearance of the fleeting effect of illness; praying to Allah Almighty to grant him enduring health and complete well – being and assist him in continuing with the leadership of the State of Kuwait as well as in supporting the beneficial joint process of the GCC states.
The Supreme Council examined the blessed process of joint action in the economic, social, political, military, cultural and information fields. The Council expressed its satisfaction at the achievements made, underlining its will to push forward the march of the GCC in a manner that the hopes and aspirations of its people are realized in line with the high goals set forth in the Founding Charter of the GCC. The Supreme Council underscored its will to continue to consolidate the security, stability and development of the GCC and its people so that the process of nationalization is boosted in all fields.
The Process of Joint Cooperation:
The Supreme Council discussed the process of economic cooperation in the GCC. In this connection, the Council studied the reports and recommendations submitted before it by the Ministerial Council, the various Committees and the Secretariat- General.
With a view to bolstering this process and desirous of promoting economic integration to more advanced levels in a manner that a common market, monetary and economic union are actualized. Towards this end, the Supreme Council approved the replacement of the “Unified Economic Agreement” ratified by the Council in November 1981 AD with the “ Economic Agreement Among GCC States”. This new agreement comes in line with the developments taking place in the GCC economy and its achievements as well as those that are taking place in the international economic arena.
The Supreme Council studied the measures taken with regard to the launch of the Customs Union and decided to reschedule it’s coming into force to an earlier date, which is, 1st of January 2003 AD. It also decided to lower the uniform customs tariff, fixing it to the tune of 5% on all foreign goods imported from outside of the Customs Union with the exception of exempted goods covered by the resolution made in its 20th session (November 1999AD). It also resolved to grant the industrial establishments exemption from customs taxation (duties) on imported goods, which are used in manufacturing, in accordance with the explicit regulations. The Council directed the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee to complete all requirements for launching the Customs Union on its rescheduled date.
The Supreme Council approved the new Unified Customs Regulation (the law) for the GCC in its amended form. It also approved its executive byelaws and the explanatory note, resolving to bring this regulation into force from the 1st of January 2002 AD.
In pursuit of establishing the Monetary Union for the GCC states and launching a single currency, the Supreme Council agreed on a time frame for the establishment of the Monetary Union. It directed the Committee of Governors of the monetary institutions and central banks to implement the decision of the Supreme Council with regard to approving the dollar as the common anchor for pegging the currencies of the GCC states before the end of the year 2002 AD. Further, the Council directed the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee and the Committee of Governors to reach an agreement on the performance standards necessary to make the Monetary Union successful by the end of the year 2005, in order to pave the way for the launch of the single currency by a time period not later than 1st of January 2010.
With a view to accomplishing statistical integration among the GCC states and achieving procedural uniformity and funding, the Council resolved to unify the time periods for conducting the General Census with effect from 2010.
The Council approved the agricultural quarantine law (regulation) after amending it in accordance with observations of the Member States and the requirements of the International Institutions in this regard, resolving to make its application mandatory.
The Council took cognizance of that which was submitted before it with regard to the improvement in the condition of the Standardization and Metrology Organization (SMO) so as to make it responsive to the requirements of the Customs Union in terms of unification of standardization and metrology procedures in the Member States and to bring about continuous coordination between metrology organizations established in each Member States. In this connection the Supreme Council decided to establish a new and independent Gulf Standardization and Metrology Organization.
With a view to bolstering economic development in Member States, the Supreme Council directed the Funds for Development in the Member States, to continue to give priority to granting soft loans for development projects to both, the State of Bahrain and Sultanate of Oman.
Humanitarian & Environmental Affairs:
The Supreme Council reviewed what has been implemented from its previous resolutions about providing job opportunities to citizens of the GCC states within the GCC states, and laid stress on execution of the contents of its earlier resolutions made in this context.
The Supreme Council also reviewed the progress made in terms of implementing the Common Educational Curricula Development Plan, and directed the Ministers of Education and Training to execute the plan quickly, and requested all sections of the society and professional bodies to make the plan successful.
The Supreme Council was informed about the establishment of the Committee on “Food Safety”. It directed the competent authorities to execute the resolutions and recommendations of this Committee.
In recognition of the dangerous condition of the environment in the Gulf, the Supreme Council called upon the Member States to complete the prerequisites of building facilities for receiving the balance water and waste discharged from ships in the Gulf region.
In order to bolster the legislations and laws for protection of environment and natural resources, the Supreme Council ratified the following:
- The Uniform Medical Waste Management Regulation
- The Uniform Regulation for the Management of Hazardous Chemicals
- Agreement on Preservation of Natural Life and its Natural Inhabitants
The Supreme Council approved the Abu Dhabi Document on the Uniform Regulation (the law) for Juveniles in the GCC states, the Manama Document for Uniform Legal Practice Regulation (the Law), the Manama Document on Uniform Civil Procedures (Pleadings) Regulation (the Law) and the Muscat Document on the Uniform Regulation (the Law) for Evidencing as reference model laws for a period of four years. The Council also extended the validity of the Kuwait document on Uniform Civil Code (the Law), and the Doha document on Penal Code (the Law) as reference model regulations for a period of another four years. All these laws and regulations aim at consolidating cooperation among the GCC states in the field of Law and Justice.
The Supreme Council looked into the progress of military cooperation since the last session and expressed its satisfaction at the achievements made in terms of conducting studies and implementing practical steps for enhancing common defence and military cooperation. In this context, the Supreme Council resolved to constitute the Common Defence Council pursuant to Article 8 of the agreement referred to.
The Council approved the resolutions of the 20th meeting of their Highnesses and Excellencies the Interior Ministers that was held at Manama in the State of Bahrain on 13-14 Sha’aban corresponding to 29-30 October 2001, particularly those aspects of the resolution which are related to redoubling the efforts of the GCC states to render the procedures for mobility of the GCC citizens and those for the flow of trade among the Member States easy, and to enhance cooperation in combating drug trafficking. The Supreme Council also resolved to approve the security strategy for the GCC states for combating the phenomena of extremism and terrorism along with strengthening the anti-money laundering laws.
The Consultative Commission:
The Supreme Council considered the views of the Consultative Commission on education, development of the education system, energy, environment, water strategies, and scientific & technological research. The Council resolved to approve it and to refer the joint projects stated as part of those views to the competent Ministerial Committees so that they may devise necessary mechanisms for their implementation. The Council also instructed the Commission to continue with the study on activating the Long Term Comprehensive Development Strategy and put forward its views, giving priority to the study of social issues, especially those that are related with the ways of enhancing youth welfare and media.
The Council discussed the progress made by Iraq in the course of implementing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions related to the prevailing situation between the State of Kuwait and Iraq and the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, recalling and reminding at the same time the resolutions adopted in its previous sessions.
Based on the keen desire of the Supreme Council to prepare the conditions suitable for consolidating and cementing peace and stability in the Gulf region, it renewed, once again, its call on Iraq to realize the importance of honouring its commitments as per the UNSC resolutions with regard to the prevailing standoff between the State of Kuwait and Iraq including:
- Respecting the independence, sovereignty and regional safety of Iraq.
- Resuming its cooperation with the United Nations so as to put an end to the pending issues related to cooperation with the International Red Cross Society and the concerned Tripartite Committee and the International Coordinator for the Affairs of Prisoners and return of assets, Ambassador Yulie Fornitsoff, so as to find a quick solution to the problem of Kuwait POWs and detainees and citizens of other countries, and the return of all Kuwaiti assets seized by Iraq.
The Supreme Council also called upon Iraq to take all steps that demonstrate its peaceful orientation and intentions and asked it to refrain from committing any provocative or aggressive act against the state of Kuwait, as required by the UNSC resolution 949 so that peace and stability in the region can be achieved.
The Supreme Council called upon both Iraq and the UN Secretary – General to restart dialogue between the two sides so that there is resumption of cooperation along the principles that enable the UNSC to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, and to put an end to the sufferings of the brotherly people of Iraq. The Supreme Council reaffirmed its unwavering stance towards respecting Iraq’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity and regional safety as well as non – interference in its internal affairs.
The Supreme Council also discussed the problem of the Iranian occupation of the three islands: the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which belong to the State of the UAE, recalling and re-emphasizing, in this regard, its resolution made in the 21st session.
After considering the contacts that have been made between the State of the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Supreme Council reiterated the complete sovereignty of the State of the UAE over the three islands: the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa as well as the regional waters, airspace, the continental shelf and the economic zone of the three islands as they constitute an integral part of the State of the UAE.
Pursuant to the principle of collective security for the GCC states, the Supreme Council expressed its complete support and backing to all steps taken by the State of the UAE within the framework of peaceful means. The Council totally rejects all Iranian claims made and measures taken on the three islands as those claims and measures are false and have no legal bearing and do not in any way diminish the right of the state of the UAE on the three islands.
The Council renewed its call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to accept the referral of the matter to the International Court of Justice.
After conducting a comprehensive assessment, the Supreme Council asked the Ministerial Council to continue to explore all peaceful means that would lead to the restoration of all the legitimate rights of the State of the UAE on the three islands.
The Supreme Council examined the dangerous escalation of situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which is the result of the excesses committed by the Israeli Government through savage repression of the Palestinian people, and its persistence with the policy of closure and confinement, and infiltration into the territories of the Palestinian Authority, and reoccupation of Palestinian towns and the consequences and dangerous complications that follow such policies. In this context, the Council cautioned against the consequences of remaining silent at this extremely dangerous situation and its bearing on the security and stability of the whole region, holding the Israeli government fully responsible for the sorry situation to which the Peace Process has been brought.
The Council asserted that the ongoing deterioration and the current wave of violence has its roots in the continuation of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and violation of the values and principles adopted in the Madrid Conference and the agreements made between the two sides, and the irresponsible Israeli decision to sever contacts with the legitimate Palestinian Government, demonstrating that the Israeli Government is not serious about achieving a just and balanced peace, something that denudes it of its credibility in the peace process.
The Supreme Council affirms its complete support to the Palestinian Authority and its Chairman, His Excellency President Yasser Arafat and calls upon all sections of the Palestinian people to show solidarity with its leadership, supporting and backing its legitimate and elected leadership so that national unity of the Palestinian people is strengthened and all their rights are restored, including the right to determine their own destiny and the right to establish an independent Palestinian State on their national soil with the Holy Jerusalem as its capital.
While renewing its commitment to support the Palestinian people, the Supreme Council affirmed its complete readiness to play an effective role in contributing to the building of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure, and urged the world community to work towards achieving peace and security so that this assistance has positive impact on the development in the territories of the Palestinian Authority.
The Supreme Council reiterated that the just, lasting and comprehensive peace cannot be achieved except by: restoring all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people; and establishment of the Palestinian state on its national soil with Holy Jerusalem as its capital, and complete Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights to the borderline existing on the 4th of June 1976; and complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories to the internationally recognized borders, in accordance with UNSC resolutions 425 and 426; and the release of all Lebanese POWs and hostages in the Israeli prisons.
The Supreme Council denounced the policy of escalation being pursued by the Israeli Government and the policy of broadening the scope of violence to the neighbouring countries, which tends to push the region into the brink of an abyss and threatens its security and stability. The Council stressed upon the need to differentiate between legitimate struggle against military occupation and terrorism-condemnable in all its forms, irrespective of its justifications.
The Supreme Council expressed its deep appreciation for the efforts made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and his brother Crown Prince, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, First Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the National Guard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for advocating the Arab position on the current issues and stressing on the need to agitate the prevailing stagnation in peace process as well as affirming the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent State on their national soil with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.
The Supreme Council welcomed the statement made by President George W. Bush in the United Nations in which he described his vision of a viable Palestinian State and putting an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in accordance with resolutions 242 and 338. The Council also welcomed the speech made by Secretary of State Colin Powell on the concept of the Palestinian state. This is because the Council is of the view that this extremely important development which strengthens the pillars of security and peace and leads to progress in all countries of the region. In order to actualize these realistic visions, the Supreme Council calls on the United States to devise a mechanism to implement those visions and concepts in line with the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.
The Supreme Council renewed its demand from the international community to make the Middle East region free from all types of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The Council stressed upon Israel’s need to join the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to subject all its nuclear installations to the international inspection system of the International Agency for Nuclear Energy (IAEA).
The Supreme Council, while appreciating the role of being played by the brotherly Republic of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula and the tasks that it is dealing within the framework of security, stability as well as growth in the Peninsula, declares the participation of the brotherly Republic of Yemen in enhancing the process of cooperation and coordination as part of the joint action of the GCC through its membership of the following:
- The Council of Health Ministers of the GCC states
- The Education and Training Bureau of the GCC states
- The Council of Labor & and Social Affairs Ministers of the GCC
- Gulf Cup Football Tournament
Other steps will follow this step in relation to the Republic of Yemen, including participation in the field of economy and other fields of cooperation. The Supreme Council looks forward to the fact that this step will contribute in consolidating cooperation, progress, development and social prosperity, and strengthen the links between the peoples of states of the Arabian Peninsula.
While welcoming the positive developments that have taken place in Afghanistan as exemplified in the formation of the Interim Government under the leadership of Hamid Karzai, the Supreme Council affirms its readiness to cooperate with the new Government in order to achieve stability and economic development, which the people of Afghanistan have been yearning to achieve.
The Supreme Council condemned the attacks carried out on the Indian Parliament on the 13th of December 2001, expressing its view that the fight against terrorism should be undertaken within the framework of international law sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council.
The Supreme Council has followed the on going tension between the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and expressed its hope that the two countries would exercise maximum restraint and return to the positive atmosphere that accompanied the contacts that were made between the leaders of the two countries, investing that positive atmosphere to remedy the causes of prevailing tension. While, expressing its concern, the Council calls upon the United Nations Security Council to intervene quickly in order to fulfill its responsibility of maintaining peace and security of this important region of the world and to prevent the continuation in the deterioration of the situation which could lead to adverse consequences.
The Phenomena of Extremism, violence and Terrorism:
The Supreme Council noted with grave apprehension the increase in the phenomena of extremism, violence and terrorism, which has become a global concern. The Supreme Council condemned the terrorist acts witnessed by the United States of America on September 11, 2001 and reaffirmed once again, its total rejection and strong condemnation of such acts in all their forms, irrespective of their motives or bases, acts that aim at spreading chaos and panic and killing innocent civilians.
In this context, the Supreme Council confirmed its support for the international coalition for eliminating terrorism under the leadership of the United States and reaffirms its total readiness to cooperate with the international community in combating this destructive phenomenon. It also calls for amalgamation of international efforts to hold a summit-level world conference to lay down international principles and standards to fight terrorism and its causes.
While the Supreme Council calls upon the opinion makers, intellectuals and the learned people in the Islamic world to work towards advocating the principles and values of the true religion of Islam, at the same time it calls upon other peoples and religions to show commitment to realism and prudence, urging them to desist from holding Islam responsible for the actions and activities, which are far removed from the spirit of Islam and its sublime beliefs.
The Supreme Council expressed its deep appreciation of the great and sincere efforts exerted by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al- Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain during his Chairmanship of the 21st session of the Supreme Council and the subsequent contacts and consultations held by His Highness to follow up the implementation of the resolutions, through which many achievements were accomplished and it pushed forward the blessed process of collective action towards more progress and prosperity, thereby consolidating security and stability for GCC states and its peoples.
The Council also appreciated the positive role being played by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar and Chairman of the 8th round of the Islamic conference, in supporting the collective Islamic action and in backing the Islamic causes.
Similarly, the Supreme Council expressed its immense appreciation and gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed Al-Moazzam, Sultan of Oman and to his Government and people for the kind reception, welcome, generous hospitality and the spirit of fraternity with which the leaders of the GCC sates were received. The leaders of the GCC praised the care and attention given by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed Al-Moazzam, Sultan of Oman 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 outcomes and resolutions. They expressed their confidence that the Sultanate of Oman, under the guidance of His Majesty, will contribute plentifully during its Chairmanship of the proceedings of this session, and will strengthen the process of joint action, taking it to newer horizons, in a manner that the aspirations and hopes of the people of the GCC states are achieved.
The Supreme Council expressed its immense appreciation of the tremendous and sincere efforts and the active contributions made by His Excellency Sheikh Jameel bin Ibrahim Al- Hejailan, the Secretary General of the GCC, towards taking forward the march of welfare, and making crucial achievements by exerting strenuous efforts, giving valuable time and long experience during his tenure as the Secretary General of Secretariat General of the GCC states.
The Supreme Council resolved to appoint His Excellency, the Minister of State in the State of Qatar, Mr. Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, as the Secretary-General of the GCC, as the successor to His Excellency Sheikh Jameel Al-Hejailan whose term will expire at the end of March 2002. The Supreme Council wished the new Secretary General success in his endeavors.
The Council looks forward to meeting in its 23rd session, Allah Willing, in the State of Qatar in the month of December 2002 AD in response to the gracious invitation by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.
Issued In Muscat
16 Shawwal 1422 AH
31 December 2002