21st EU-GCC Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting — JOINT COMMUNIQUE

Abu Dhabi, 20 April 2011
1. The 21st ses­sion of the Joint Coun­cil for the Euro­pean Union- Gulf Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil, was held in Abu Dhabi on 20 April 2011. The GCC del­e­ga­tion was led by HH Sheikh Abdal­lah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs of the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates. The GCC Sec­re­tari­at was rep­re­sent­ed by GCC Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al, Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashed Al-Zayani. The EU del­e­ga­tion was led by H.E. High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton.

2. The EU and GCC Min­is­ters reviewed the state of play of the bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship. The Min­is­ters expressed the view that fur­ther strength­en­ing EU-GCC rela­tions would be an effec­tive and valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to region­al secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty. They reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to advance polit­i­cal dia­logue, ful­ly respect­ing inter­na­tion­al law, the Unit­ed Nations Char­ter and the rel­e­vant UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. They endorsed the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Joint Coop­er­a­tion Com­mit­tee, and not­ed with sat­is­fac­tion progress on the imple­men­ta­tion of the Joint Action Pro­gramme approved last year, and reit­er­at­ed the impor­tance to con­tin­ue advanc­ing with its imple­men­ta­tion, with a view to pro­mot­ing stronger links between their admin­is­tra­tions, aca­d­e­mics, sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ties, stu­dents and peo­ple. The EU and the GCC reit­er­at­ed their inten­tion to con­tin­ue their con­sul­ta­tions with a view to con­clude the Free Trade Agree­ment as soon as possible. 

3. The Min­is­ters dis­cussed devel­op­ments in the region, under­lin­ing its strate­gic impor­tance. They con­demned vio­lence in all its forms and expressed their deep regret for the loss of life. They stressed their readi­ness to strength­en con­sul­ta­tion and coor­di­na­tion and to mobilise appro­pri­ate sup­port for coun­tries across the region if and when request­ed. The two sides agreed that every sit­u­a­tion was unique, but there was a com­mon need for each coun­try to find its own ways to enable people’s aspi­ra­tions to be addressed, peace­ful­ly and con­struc­tive­ly, in full respect of the rule of law, human rights and fun­da­men­tal freedoms.

The two sides recalled the impor­tance for the respect for sov­er­eign­ty of the GCC Mem­ber States and rec­og­nized that the GCC is enti­tled to take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to pro­tect the cit­i­zens of the GCC Mem­ber States. The two sides urged Iran to play a con­struc­tive role in the region and to cease inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of GCC Mem­ber States and oth­er coun­tries in the region. The Min­is­ters called on Iran to ful­fil its oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al law to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for diplo­mat­ic mis­sions in Iran.

4. The EU and the GCC reaf­firmed their shared posi­tion that a just, com­pre­hen­sive and last­ing peace in the Mid­dle East is vital for inter­na­tion­al peace and secu­ri­ty and expressed their con­tin­ued sup­port for the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive. They called for the urgent resump­tion of nego­ti­a­tions on all final sta­tus issues, with a view to arriv­ing at a two-state solu­tion by Sep­tem­ber 2011, as set out by the Quar­tet. They agreed that a fur­ther Quar­tet Prin­ci­pals’ meet­ing should take place as soon as pos­si­ble. The two sides reaf­firmed their shared posi­tion not to rec­og­nize any changes to the pre-1967 bor­ders oth­er than those agreed by both par­ties includ­ing with regard to Jerusalem. The EU and the GCC stressed their com­mon posi­tion that Israeli set­tle­ments any­where in the occu­pied Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries are ille­gal under inter­na­tion­al law and con­sti­tute an obsta­cle to peace. In this regard they called on Israel to imme­di­ate­ly end all set­tle­ment activ­i­ty in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, includ­ing nat­ur­al growth, and dis­man­tle all out­posts. They agreed on the need to con­tin­ue to sup­port Pales­tin­ian state-build­ing efforts, both polit­i­cal­ly and financially.

5. The Min­is­ters took note of the for­ma­tion of the Iraqi gov­ern­ment and stressed the impor­tance of its com­ple­tion. They also reaf­firmed that nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is the key to the solu­tion of Iraq’s prob­lems and under­lined the urgency of mak­ing fur­ther progress in this regard. They con­demned all acts of vio­lence includ­ing those against eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties, and under­lined the impor­tance that these acts do not deter Iraq from pur­su­ing its ongo­ing polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment. The EU and GCC under­lined their full sup­port for the cen­tral role of the UN in assist­ing Iraq in imple­ment­ing rel­e­vant UNSC res­o­lu­tions. They expressed their sup­port for the UN efforts to final­ize the issue of the main­te­nance of the inter­na­tion­al bor­der posts between Iraq and Kuwait, for the return of Kuwaiti pris­on­ers and nation­als of oth­er coun­tries or their remains, as well as the return of Kuwaiti prop­er­ty includ­ing its nation­al archive. 

6. Both sides expressed their sup­port for the con­tin­u­a­tion of efforts to engage Iran into mean­ing­ful nego­ti­a­tions, with the objec­tive of reach­ing a peace­ful, nego­ti­at­ed solu­tion of the nuclear issue. They called again upon Iran to restore con­fi­dence in the exclu­sive­ly peace­ful nature of its nuclear pro­gramme. The EU and GCC urged Iran to ful­ly com­ply with the rel­e­vant res­o­lu­tions adopt­ed by UNSC and the IAEA and recalled their com­mit­ment to the full imple­men­ta­tion of rel­e­vant UNSC res­o­lu­tions. The EU and GCC under­lined the impor­tance of main­tain­ing dia­logue on this issue.

7. Min­is­ters expressed their deep con­cern at the sit­u­a­tion in Yemen. The cur­rent impasse between the var­i­ous par­ties might decline quick­ly into more seri­ous con­fronta­tion and con­flict. The min­is­ters con­demned all use of vio­lence. They reit­er­at­ed their com­mit­ment to sup­port Yemen’s devel­op­ment as a uni­fied, sta­ble, demo­c­ra­t­ic and pros­per­ous state. They called on all par­ties in Yemen to urgent­ly forge a mean­ing­ful, com­pre­hen­sive and inclu­sive agree­ment on polit­i­cal tran­si­tion. Dia­logue is the only way to make progress on polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and social reforms accept­able to all Yeme­nis. Min­is­ters exchanged views on cur­rent ini­tia­tives in sup­port of Yemen’s polit­i­cal tran­si­tion. They wel­comed and sup­port­ed the ongo­ing GCC ini­tia­tive and efforts to encour­age con­cerned sides in Yemen to urgent­ly reach a polit­i­cal set­tle­ment of the cur­rent impasse in Yemen.

8. The EU and the GCC under­lined the impor­tance of ensur­ing the uni­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty of Libya. They wel­comed the efforts under­tak­en by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to ensure the imple­men­ta­tion of UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions (UNSCR) 1970 and 1973 on Libya.

They wel­comed in par­tic­u­lar the estab­lish­ment of the Libya Con­tact Group, which pro­vides an impor­tant plat­form for the efforts of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, the progress made at its first meet­ing in Doha on 13 April, and the agree­ment to hold the sec­ond Con­tact Group meet­ing in Italy. They under­lined the need for close coop­er­a­tion with the Arab League, the African Union, and the Unit­ed Nations, and expressed appre­ci­a­tion, in this regards, for the meet­ing con­vened by the Unit­ed Nations in coop­er­a­tion with the Arab League in Cairo on 14 April. Call­ing for an imme­di­ate and gen­uine cease­fire, they stressed that Colonel Qaddafi’s regime has lost its legit­i­ma­cy and expressed sup­port to the Tran­si­tion­al Nation­al Coun­cil as a legit­i­mate inter­locu­tor rep­re­sent­ing the aspi­ra­tions of the Libyan peo­ple. They expressed their deep con­cern regard­ing the seri­ous human­i­tar­i­an sit­u­a­tion in Libya and on its bor­ders. They under­lined the oblig­a­tion to pro­vide unhin­dered access for human­i­tar­i­an assistance.

9. The Joint Coun­cil reit­er­at­ed its con­cern about the threat of pira­cy, which dis­rupts eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty, region­al and inter­na­tion­al trade and mar­itime safe­ty and secu­ri­ty. Both sides share respon­si­bil­i­ty in fight­ing pira­cy and high­light­ed the impor­tance of rein­forc­ing mar­itime capac­i­ties and coor­di­na­tion in the broad­er region. They wel­comed inter­na­tion­al efforts, includ­ing by the EU Oper­a­tion Ata­lan­ta, and the inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence on Pira­cy, held in the UAE on 18–19 April 2011. 

10. The Joint Coun­cil under­lined that the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass destruc­tion and their deliv­ery sys­tems con­sti­tutes a seri­ous threat to inter­na­tion­al peace and secu­ri­ty. The mul­ti­lat­er­al treaty sys­tem, in par­tic­u­lar the NPT remains the cor­ner­stone of the nuclear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. IAEA Com­pre­hen­sive Safe­guards Agree­ments and the Addi­tion­al Pro­to­col are the key instru­ments for its imple­men­ta­tion. The EU and the GCC will ensure full com­pli­ance with, and nation­al imple­men­ta­tion of, their exist­ing oblig­a­tions under non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and dis­ar­ma­ment treaties and agree­ments and work for the strength­en­ing and uni­ver­sal­i­sa­tion of these instruments.

11. The EU and the GCC reit­er­at­ed their con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to the pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion of all human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms, in line with the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights and rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al instru­ments. They agreed to iden­ti­fy pos­si­ble ways to forge coop­er­a­tion in this area.

12. The EU and the GCC under­lined the impor­tance of inter­cul­tur­al and inter­re­li­gious dia­logue, coop­er­a­tion and respect for cul­tur­al and reli­gious diver­si­ty, and con­demned all forms of hatred and intol­er­ance. The EU and the GCC expressed their joint com­mit­ment to the pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion of the val­ues of tol­er­ance, mod­er­a­tion and coex­is­tence and expressed their readi­ness to coop­er­ate close­ly with exist­ing inter­na­tion­al and region­al bod­ies and fora, such as UNESCO, the Alliance of Civil­i­sa­tions and the EU-League of Arab States, in pur­suance of these goals.

13. Min­is­ters agreed to hold their next meet­ing in the EU in 2012. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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