Gulf leaders, meeting in Riyadh at 42nd summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) on Tuesday (14 December), stressed the importance of implementing the vision of GCC unity, solidarity, and stability. The vision was first announced and subsequently adopted by the GCC Supreme Council in 2015, but was on hold for most of the time since due to tensions within GCC.
The vision supports economic unity, joint defence and security system, coordination of stances to enhance GCC solidarity and stability, preserve interests, avoid regional and international conflicts, meet the aspirations of GCC citizens, and enhance the GCC regional and international role, by unifying political stances and developing political partnerships at the regional and international levels.
The leaders also stressed the “importance of enhancing the joint cooperation and coordinating plans aimed at achieving sustainability and dealing with climate change and its effects, promoting joint action among the GCC countries to implement the circular carbon economy approach which was launched by Saudi Arabia during its presidency of the G20.”
The Supreme Council assigned committees to establish a customs union and GCC Common Market in the lead up to full economic unity of the GCC by 2025. It also approved the GCC Railways Authority and commended the opening of the GCC unified military command in Riyadh.
Local Saudi media reported that the summit also comes at a time where there is a need to enhance Gulf cooperation in areas such as food and drug security as well as digital transformation.
Iran was the main topic of discussion among foreign policy issues. Referring to the Iran nuclear programme, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that it was important to have an effective and serious approach to Iran's nuclear and ballistic programme.
The Council condemned and rejected actions by Iran that threaten stability and regional peace efforts. The Iranian foreign ministry responded by calling on Gulf countries to avoid repetitive accusations against it.
Read more about some of the outcomes of the final communique here.