Manama: A GCC-US summit in the Riyadh on May 21 reflects the pivotal role of the six Gulf Cooperation Council ministers in consolidating peace and stability regionally and internationally, Gulf foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
“The summit is an indication of the significant role of the GCC countries in light of their responsible positions and continuous efforts to confront challenges and threats to the region and the world,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, who chaired the meeting, said late on Wednesday.
“The GCC is keen on deepening partnership and cooperation with active and influential allies for the sake of development and prosperity in the region.”
The GCC, the most active Arab alliance since it was set up in 1981, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting of the foreign ministers, their 143rd, was held ahead of the 17th annual advisory summit of the GCC leaders and of the much-anticipated GCC-US summit in Riyadh.
The GCC leaders annually hold a formal rotational summit in December and an open advisory summit in the Saudi capital, the GCC headquarters, in May.
The GCC-US summit will be one of the three summits that US President Donald Trump will attend during his visit to Saudi Arabia, his first since his inauguration on January 20.
Trump will hold talks with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz on May 20, with the GCC leaders and with leaders from Arab and Islamic countries on May 21.
Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, which begins on Friday, “sends a clear message that the US is standing with its close allies in the region and that they’re not abandoning them,” a senior Saudi official was quoted as saying.
A dedicated site launched by the Saudis stressed that “over the course of three major summits, historic relationships will be strengthened through a shared belief in tolerance and collaboration.”
“The foundation will be laid for a new beginning and the promise of a brighter future for all.”
At the GCC-US summit, delegates will “discuss threats to regional security and stability and the building of stronger commercial ties between them”. At the Arab-Islamic-American summit, leaders of the world’s Islamic nations “will address ways of building more robust and effective security partnerships to counter and prevent the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism around the globe through promoting tolerance and moderation.”
King Salman and Trump will inaugurate the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCEII) that “counters and prevents the spread of extremist ideology through promoting moderation, compassion and supporting the dissemination of positive dialogue.”