GCC states renew commitment to upholding regional peace and security

The GCC also condemned Israeli aggression against Palestinians

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on January 5, 2021, shows from L to R: Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd Bin Mahmud, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Dubai's Ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Nayef al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) posing for a pictures before the opening session of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in the northwestern Saudi city of al-Ula. - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the Gulf states had signed an agreement on regional "solidarity and stability" at a summit aimed at resolving a three-year embargo against Qatar. (Photo by BANDAR AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / SAUDI ROYAL PALACE / BANDAR AL-JALOUD" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states urged the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group on Tuesday to co-operate with a Saudi Arabian peace initiative for Yemen.

Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman met in Riyadh at the 148th ministerial meeting chaired by Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.

The ministers also condemned Houthi smuggling of Iranian drugs into Yemen and their continued attacks on the oil-rich governorate of Marib which remains the last major government-held pocket in the north of the country.

Mr Al Zayani also reiterated the GCC states' "support of Saudi Arabia against attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis".

The militias have been targeting vital Saudi facilities like schools and airports in recent weeks using explosive-laden drones and ballistic missiles.

The group also discussed the status of the the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa and condemned Iran's semi-covert construction of houses on them.

In a statement shared by the Saudi Press Agency, it urged Iran to "respond to the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to resolve the issue through direct negotiations or resort to the International Court of Justice."

The GCC ministers also condemned Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, after an 11-day bombardment campaign on Gaza that killed over 280 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel.

The bloc also welcomed the Egypt-brokered ceasefire that ensued between Israel and Hamas.

Overall, the council repeated its commitment to fighting terrorism and shunning extremism, Al Ekhbariya said.

The member states also praised the launch of Saudi Arabia's Green Initiative which was discussed in a meeting by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in Riyadh on Wednesday.

They congratulated the UAE on its election as a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term after a vote by the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Wednesday's GCC meeting also condemned Iran's failure to co-operate on its nuclear commitments with the UN nuclear watchdog in charge of monitoring and tracking its nuclear programme.

It came as Iran and the US conduct indirect talks in Vienna to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from under former US President Donald Trump's tenure in 2018.

The GCC celebrated its 40th anniversary in May, cementing diplomatic ties with Qatar after a rift that lasted for three years and-a-half through the Al Ula declaration which was announced in January.

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