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  HE the GCCSG: The Journey of the GCC is Full of Diligent Joint Work and Valuable Record of Achievements over 43 years. It's a Model to be Emulated for Successful Integration and Interdependence Regionally and Internationally

General Secretariat - Riyadh

Under the patronage and presence of His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Riyadh, and the attendance of Their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers and Their Excellencies the Ambassadors, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and many officials, the General Secretariat of the GCC held the 43rd anniversary celebration of the establishment of the GCC, today, Sunday, May 26, 2024, at its headquarters in the city of Riyadh.

On this occasion, His Excellency Mr Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the GCC, stated at the beginning of his speech that the Cooperation Council is an icon and embodiment of the shared religious, historical, social and cultural values that are reinforced by the geographical extension of the GCC countries, adding that the journey of the GCC is full of diligent joint work and boasts a valuable record of achievements over 43 years. 

His Excellency described the GCC as a model to be emulated for successful integration and interdependence regionally and internationally, stressing the importance of the role of the Council in protecting security, entrenching stability, and achieving sustainable development for the benefit of their peoples.

Furthermore, His Excellency expressed his deepest gratitude and appreciation to His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Riyadh,  for sponsoring and honouring the celebration today, and his participation with Their Highnesses the Princes, Their Excellencies the Ministers, and Their Excellencies the Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps, in addition to all the officials who honoured the celebration with their gracious presence on this dear occasion to all citizens of the GCC countries.

Moreover, His Excellency the GCC Secretary General stated that the Cooperation Council has had a clear vision for the level of joint integration among its member states since its inception. 

This vision is based on protecting the Cooperation Council from all threats, considering that the security of the Council member states is indivisible, in addition to supporting and increasing economic growth and its sustainability through diversifying the production base and transitioning to a knowledge-based and innovative economy, as well as maintaining a high level of human development, driven by the firm conviction that the human being is the goal of development, enabling the Cooperation Council to deal with and recover from crises of all kinds, and enhancing the regional and international standing of the Cooperation Council, championing just causes, and providing support during international crises.

In a related context, His Excellency pointed out that the region is going through exceptional, difficult, and unprecedented circumstances due to the killings, forced displacements, as well as serious and brutal violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territories. 

"We underscore the firm position of the Cooperation Council regarding the Israeli aggression. Therefore, we call for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire and an end to the Israeli military operations in all parts of Gaza, including the city of Rafah, and ensuring the provision of all humanitarian aid, relief, and essential needs to its population," His Excellency stated. 

He also stressed the need for the international community to adopt effective policies and measures to stop the escalation and acts of violence against the Palestinians in the West Bank, including the city of Jerusalem and Islamic holy sites, as well as to stop settlement expansion and land confiscation, in addition to the forced displacement of Palestinians from their lands. 

He called for supporting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant international resolutions.

Meanwhile, His Excellency underscored the many blessings and achievements witnessed in the journey of the Cooperation Council, as it has contributed to strengthening the joint GCC integration in various fields. He recalled some of the achievements accomplished during the past period.

This includes economic diversification, through the opening of new markets for the Cooperation Council's countries, stemming from the comprehensive strategic vision set by the Council's leaders.

Besides, several free trade agreements have been signed with a number of countries, which is a testament to the Cooperation Council's approach and aspirations to enhance international relations and trade ties. 

"These include the completion of negotiations and the initialing of a free trade agreement between the Cooperation Council and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in September 2023, the completion of negotiations and the initialing of a free trade agreement between the Cooperation Council and the Republic of Korea in December 2023, the announcement of the launch of free trade negotiations with Japan in a joint statement in July 2023, and the announcement of the launch of free trade negotiations with the Republic of Turkey in a joint statement in March 2024," he said.

"Our commitment to enhancing economic relations and opening new markets for the Cooperation Council's countries is not only aimed at diversifying our economic activities, but also at positioning the Council's countries as a strategic player on the global trade stage. Faced with these achievements and joint GCC projects, we now have a great responsibility to continue this great edifice, and to preserve the gains that have been achieved during this blessed journey. We have confidence in the capabilities and energy of our youth, whom we see as our strongest bet to achieve success and further strengthen the role and position of the Cooperation Council regionally and internationally," His Excellency explained, adding: "This is what we are striving for in the General Secretariat; to translate, implement and follow up on the programmes, objectives and projects entrusted to us, in order to achieve greater accomplishments," 

In conclusion, His Excellency escalated the highest expressions of gratitude, appreciation and praise to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, government and people, for the unlimited facilities and support provided to the General Secretariat and its affiliated offices and bodies in the host country, and to Their Highnesses and Excellencies the Foreign Ministers of the member states of the Ministerial Council, for their continuous support and patronage of the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council and its staff in order to carry out the tasks entrusted to the Cooperation Council.

He also thanked the staff of the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council and its affiliated bodies and offices, for their brilliant efforts, dedication to work and boundless sincerity, as well as for their keenness to make the march and achievements of the GCC a model to be followed.

He praised the efforts of the Head and members of the Organising Committee of this celebration for what they have done in the preparation and organisation of this distinctive event.