The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the United States are keen to bolster multilateral cooperation in all domains and help resolve outstanding issues in Gulf and Middle East regions.
In a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal after the conclusion of the ministerial GCC-US Strategic Forum, held here Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced US commitment to defend GCC states against any threats, particularly from Iran.
Clinton stressed that the US is keen on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and curbing its interference in the affairs of its neighbors.
She added that the United States is hoping to enhance cooperation with GCC on fighting piracy and violent extremism.
The US top diplomat expressed her country’s readiness to buttress GCC defense and security.
The US wants to cooperate with the GCC “to take practical and specific steps to strengthen our mutual security, such as helping our militaries improve interoperability, cooperate on maritime security and missile defense, and coordinate responses to crises.”
She explained that could help the GCC states build a “regional missile defense architecture” against what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran.
Clinton also asked Iran to deal positively with the international efforts to find a solution to its nuke program and to fulfill previous commitments to the international community.
She made it clear that all options are on the table if Tehran dug heels in.
With regard to the situation in Syria, Clinton pointed out that the United States’ support UN-Arab Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan’s six-point plan to help stop blood shedding.
She warned the Syrian regime against not fulfilling its commitments as per Annan plan and urged Syria opposition to unite and close their ranks in “Friends of Syria” conference, to be held in the Turkish city of Istanbul Sunday. The US official hailed the GCC support to Yemen following the start of the implementation of the GCC-brokered peaceful power-transfer process there.
For his part, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the Syrian regime should withdraw security forces from the cities and stop its deadly crackdown on protesters.
“The situation in Syria has reached a stage that can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Al-Faisal stressed the need for more efforts to implement the Arab League plan to transfer power peacefully in Syria, as the regime does not respond to world calls to stop its killing machine and cooperate to meet the aspirations of the Syrian people.
He listed the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program as the biggest threats to the region security and stability.
Al-Faisal stressed that the GCC is keen on retaining its security, stability and introduce reforms that meet people aspirations in addition to its commitment to establish positive relations with all world countries.
The Saudi Foreign Minister lauded the peaceful transfer of power in Yemen, calling for more support to Yemeni people to maintain security and stability.
The one-day GCC-US Strategic Cooperation Forum held here on Saturday with participation of all GCC ministers and their US counterpart.
Kuwait was represented in the meeting by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
The US is a strategic ally of the GCC states, which founded the bloc in the early 80s, in shadow of a regional war between Iran and Iraq.
The GCC, comprising Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, was founded to enhance cooperation and coordination among the regional states in various domains, including the security, military and political fields.