The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, and the GCC Secretary General Jasem Albudaiwi met in Riyadh on June 7, 2023, to celebrate the strategic importance of the historic ties among their countries. The Ministers underscored their shared commitment to build upon the achievements of previous ministerial meetings and the Jeddah Summit on July 16, 2022 to strengthen consultation, coordination, and cooperation in all fields.
The Ministers highlighted the strategic, ambitious, and growing partnerships between the United States and the GCC and its member states to promote peace, security, stability, integration, and economic prosperity in the Middle East. The Ministers affirmed the importance of common efforts to advance de-escalation and underlined their joint commitment to support diplomacy to achieve these efforts. They underscored the importance and promise of infrastructure projects to promote regional integration and interconnectivity, contributing to regional stability and prosperity. The Ministers also underscored the importance of upholding navigational rights and freedoms and of collective efforts to address threats to the security of vessels traveling through the region’s waterways. The Ministers underscored the importance of confronting terrorism and violent extremism worldwide and welcomed the next Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial meeting, to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 8, 2023. Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ enduring commitment to the security of the region, recognizing the region’s vital role in the global economy and international trade.
The GCC Council and the United States reiterated their commitment to freedom of navigation and maritime security in the region and their determination to counter aggressive and illegal actions at sea or elsewhere that might threaten the shipping lanes, international trade, and oil installations in the GCC states. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and renewed their call for Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Ministers welcomed the decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations and stressed the importance of adherence to international law, including the UN Charter, by states of the region.
The Ministers underscored the importance of the ongoing, UN-led peace effort in Yemen following the April 2022 truce and ensuing calm. They expressed their high appreciation of the efforts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UN and U.S. envoys to this end. They also expressed their hope to see an inclusive, Yemeni-Yemeni political process that results in a lasting end to the conflict, which addresses Yemenis’ calls for justice, accountability, and redress for human rights violations and abuses, and places the country on the path towards recovery. They reaffirmed their support for Yemeni sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity and for the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen and urged the Houthis to seize this opportunity and build on the past 14 months of calm to bring relief to millions of Yemenis. The Ministers affirmed the importance of continuing to address the humanitarian needs of people in all areas of Yemen and provide economic and developmental support across the country. They also reaffirmed support for UN-led efforts to address the environmental and economic threat posed by the Safer oil tanker off the coast of Yemen.
The Ministers underscored their commitment to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-state solution, along 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps consistent with internationally recognized parameters and the Arab Peace Initiative. They stressed the need to refrain from all unilateral measures that undermine a two-state solution and escalate tensions, to preserve the historic status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites, recognizing the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in this regard. The Ministers expressed appreciation for Egypt’s critical role mediating between Israel and Gaza armed factions during recent hostilities. The Ministers also emphasized the importance of bolstering the Palestinian Authority and improving the everyday lives of Palestinians including through humanitarian assistance and efforts to bolster the Palestinian economy. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Palestinian Authority.
On Syria, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis in a manner that preserves Syria’s unity and sovereignty, meets the aspirations of its people, is consistent with international humanitarian law, and is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015). In that regard, the Ministers welcomed Arab efforts to resolve the crisis in a step-for-step manner, consistent with UNSCR 2254, as agreed during the Amman consultative meeting of the Arab Ministerial Contact Group on Syria on May 1, 2023. The Ministers reaffirmed support for U.S. and Coalition forces, who are working to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS in Syria. Ministers further condemned all actions that threaten the safety and security of these forces. They stressed the need to create secure conditions for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons consistent with UNHCR standards, and the importance of providing the necessary support to Syrian refugees and to the countries hosting them. The Ministers reiterated their call for a nationwide ceasefire. They welcomed the UN Secretary General’s call for a 12-month renewal of the Security Council authorization to operate the cross-border mechanism and expressed support for including all currently open border crossing points (Bab al-Hawa, Bab al-Salaam, and al-Rai) in a Security Council resolution to be passed this July. Furthermore, they discussed enhancing cooperation to address the issue of arbitrarily detained and missing persons – as outlined in the Amman Communique and UNSCR 2254 – in coordination with all concerned parties.
The Ministers noted the positive and growing partnership between the GCC and Iraq and welcomed continued progress on the GGC Interconnection Authority project to link Iraq to the GCC electricity grid. This project represents years of diplomatic efforts in pursuit of greater regional integration and interdependence to benefit the people of Iraq and the region. Once complete, the project will provide much-needed power to the Iraqi people and set the stage for greater economic cooperation down the road. The Ministers discussed the importance of civilian-led efforts in Iraq, including economic reforms to ensure Iraq’s people benefit from the country’s natural resources, stabilization to ensure communities can recover from conflict and ISIS violence, measures to prevent the financing of terrorism, and efforts to counter ISIS narratives, which complement ongoing work to enhance the Government of Iraq’s counterterrorism capabilities. The Ministers highlighted their support for a stable, sovereign, and secure Iraq.
Expressing grave concern regarding the recent outbreak of fighting in Sudan, the Ministers underlined the GCC’s support for diplomatic efforts led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States in Jeddah to achieve agreement by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to fully implement a short-term ceasefire and enable unhindered humanitarian access. They reiterated their support for diplomatic efforts to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities in Sudan, which is urgently needed. The Ministers affirmed their conviction that no acceptable military solution exists that will settle the conflict. They called on the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to silence their guns.
War in Ukraine
The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of respecting the principle of sovereignty and international law, including the UN Charter and the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. The Ministers urged all countries and the international community to intensify their efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful solution, ending the humanitarian crisis, and supporting refugees, displaced persons and others affected by the war in Ukraine, as well as facilitating the export of grain and other food supplies, and supporting food security in affected countries.
GCC-U.S. Strategic Partnership
The Ministers affirmed their shared determination to contribute to regional security and stability under the framework of the GCC-U.S. Strategic Partnership. The Ministers commended the outcomes of the GCC-U.S. working groups on integrated air and missile defense, maritime security, and Iran in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 13 and 15, 2023. They commended the deliberations of the Fourth GCC-U.S. Trade and Investment Dialogue meeting that was held on March 9, 2023, also in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They took note of the joint military exercises taken place between their armed forces and their close cooperation within the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) framework. The Ministers decided to convene a meeting of the GCC-U.S. cyber security working group later this year. The Ministers affirmed the importance of continuing periodic working groups to discuss defense issues and decided to hold another round of the GCC-U.S. integrated air and missile defense and maritime security working groups later this year. The Ministers will also explore the possibility of holding working groups later this year on military preparedness and training and streamlining the transfer of critical defense capabilities.