GCC members stand united on Russia-Ukraine crisis, Saudi foreign minister says

Prince Faisal bin Farhan speaks at 152nd session of the GCC Ministerial Council

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Gulf Co-operation Council countries have highlighted the negative repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict during meetings with top diplomats from both countries, says Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan's remarks came during his opening speech at the 152nd session of the GCC Ministerial Council.

“Our stance as Gulf countries regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is unified,” he said on Wednesday.

“Today we had two fruitful meetings with the Russian and Ukrainian ministers, during which we stated our unified stance regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its negative consequences, namely the food security of the affected countries and the world."

He said "our regional security is facing major challenges that require close co-ordination to reach a common approach towrds our international relations in order to care for our interests".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who attended the meeting, has confirmed members of the GCC will not join global sanctions against Moscow.

Mr Lavrov said GCC countries “understand the nature of the conflict between us and the West”.

During his meetings in Riyadh, Mr Lavrov also called for Syria to return to its seat in the Arab League.

He repeated Russia's support for the Arab initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia regarding a Palestinian state and that Moscow also supported the Yemeni Presidential Council and the current truce.

Prince Faisal said GCC members were keen to support all efforts to reach a just political solution in Yemen.

The top Saudi diplomat said the security of the country is an integral part of the security system of the Gulf and Arab region, asserting full support for Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council until Yemen restores its security and stability.

“We reiterate our support for the UN’s efforts, led by its special envoy to Yemen, aiming to reach a comprehensive political solution to end the crisis in Yemen," he said.

He said atop challenges facing the region is the Iranian nuclear programme, its arming of the militias, support for terrorism and its destabilising acts in the region.

"So our dialogue with Iran should be based on a unified Gulf stance through which we call for peace, cooperation and commitment to the principles of the international legitimacy and good neighborliness," he said.

Mr Lavrov met the foreign ministers of the GCC on Wednesday in Riyadh.

He held a meeting with Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al Mohammed, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

Mr Lavrov began his tour of the region in Bahrain on Monday, where he met King Hamad and Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

He arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Before the GCC meeting, Mr Lavrov held talks with Prince Faisal.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the diplomats praised the level of co-operation inside Opec+.

“They noted the stabilising effect that the tight co-operation between Russia and Saudi Arabia has on world markets for hydrocarbons in this strategically important sector,” the ministry said.

During their meeting in Riyadh, Prince Faisal affirmed Riyadh’s willingness to make the necessary efforts to contribute to a political solution to the Ukraine conflict.

He confirmed to Mr Lavrov that the kingdom's position was based “on the foundations of international law and its support for efforts aimed at reaching a political solution that ends the crisis and achieves security and stability”, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia and other Opec member countries have so far resisted US pressure to boost crude output more sharply to cool prices, which have risen partly because of the Ukraine war.

The foreign ministers also issued a joint communique after their meeting on Wednesday, which noted Iran's destabilising behaviour in the region.

The council emphasised the need for negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file, which should also address its sponsorship of terrorism and sectarian militias, its missile programme and the safety of maritime navigation and oil installations.

It said GCC states needed to participate in those negotiations, as well as all regional and international discussions and meetings related to the matter.

Saudi Arabia said high oil prices were the result of geopolitics, stretched refining capacities and higher taxes in the West, rather than supply concerns.

US President Joe Biden and his team have been considering making stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel after he travels to Germany and Spain in late June, sources said.

Updated: June 02, 2022, 6:54 AM
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