Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Ministerial Strategic Dialogue between the Russian Federation and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), Moscow, May 26, 2016
The fourth round of the Strategic Dialogue between Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the GCC member states and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation took place in Moscow on May 26, 2016.
The meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency Mr. Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (for the Russian side), and His Excellency Mr. Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, current GCC Presidency, (for the GCC side), with participation of Their Excellences Foreign Ministers of the GCC States and His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, GCC Secretary-General.
The Ministers reaffirmed their shared intention to strengthen and develop friendship and collaboration between the two parties in various fields and commended the established mechanism for cooperation within the strategic dialogue between Russia and the GCC in this regard.
The Ministers agreed to continue their work in the current format for further coordination of approaches to topical aspects of mutual interest on the international and regional agendas and enhanced practical bilateral business and humanitarian cooperation.
Regional and international challenges
The Ministers reaffirmed that relations between states should be based on the principles of good-neighbourliness and full respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and interests of each of them, in accordance with International Law and the United Nations Charter. The resolution of persistent challenges and crises should be reached through peaceful means within the framework of a wide national dialogue.
The Ministers reaffirmed that they will remain united in combating terrorism and to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts through increased international cooperation, in full recognition of the UN’s central role and in accordance with UN Charter as well as through the full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in particular 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015) and UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, supported the efforts of the UN Counter-Terrorism Center and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee [CTC], and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism [CCIT], at the earliest.
The Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, reaffirming that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, and rejected associating terrorism with any religion, culture or ethnic group, emphasized the need for concerted regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and to address factors conductive to its spread, eliminate the sources and any kind of support for terrorism and violent extremism including its funding, as well as combating organized cross-border crime.
The Ministers welcomed the initiative put forward by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to establish a large-scale anti-terrorist front based on international legal standards and the UN Charter and operating with the consent and in close coordination with regional states that bear the brunt of burden in resisting terrorists and extremists.
The Ministers welcomed the establishment of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism and supported cooperation between the Russian Federation and the US-led International Coalition against ISIL.
The Ministers took note of counter-terrorism efforts undertaken by various international fora, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) under the auspices of the UN.
The Ministers commended the outcome of the consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the General Secretariat of the OIC held in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in January 2016 on the issue of combating terrorism, extremism and organized crime.
The Ministers welcomed the beginning on the 16th of January, 2016 of practical implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concluded on the 14th of July, 2015 in Vienna and aimed at final settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. They urged all parties concerned to faithfully implement their respective commitments to ensure sustainability of the JCPOA and called upon all countries to support its implementation.
The Ministers noted that full implementation of the JCPOA and full compliance with all provisions of the UN SC resolution 2231(2015) will contribute to building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. The two sides underlined the essential and independent role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in verifying Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, through an effective mechanism for inspection and surveillance.
The Ministers reiterated the importance of establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. They appreciated the proactive role of the Russian Federation in promoting this goal. In this regard the two sides welcomed the informal meeting on the Conference on Establishing a Middle East WMD-Free Zone: Devising the Next Steps held on May 23, 2016 in Moscow. In its turn the Russian Federation underlined readiness as a co-sponsor of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference to undertake all necessary efforts aimed at its implementation.
The Ministers also stressed the right of all nations to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. They underlined the need to address all environmental concerns of regional countries, including in the field of nuclear safety.
The Russian Federation noted the GCC’s deep concern over the continued launching of ballistic missiles in the Gulf region.
The Ministers reaffirmed the need to preserve the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability of Syria, and the importance of reaching a political solution to the crisis that preserves the lives of Syrians and leads to cessation of hostilities on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and the agreements adopted by the International Syria Support Group.
The Ministers emphasized the need for a prompt end to the armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic on the international legal basis consisting of UNSC Resolutions 2254 and 2268, statements of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012. They emphasized the need for nationwide cessation of hostilities, disassociation of the moderate opposition from the so called ISIL (Da’esh), Jabhat al-Nusra and any other organizations designated as terrorist groups by the UN Security Council, as well as for an effective combat against them. The Ministers welcomed the ongoing cooperation between Ceasefire Task Force Co-Chairs, the Russian Federation and the United States to facilitate solidifying of the cessation of hostilities.
The Ministers stressed the necessity of access of humanitarian aid to the civil population of all parts of the country in accordance with international humanitarian law, and resumption of the intra‑Syrian talks in Geneva. They supported the diplomatic efforts of the ISSG, co-chaired by the Russian Federation and the United States, to help bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
The Ministers also expressed their deep concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons. The Ministers supported UN efforts, international organizations, and countries including Russia and the GCC member states, to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people. They urged the international community to continue providing support and assistance to refugees in neighboring countries of Syria.
The Ministers welcomed the cessation of hostilities in Yemen, pledged to support it, and urged all Yemeni parties to abide by it, expressing their continued strong support for the UN envoy, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed. They also emphasized the importance of progress in talks convening in Kuwait and urged all parties to make the difficult decisions necessary to achieve a durable and inclusive political settlement of the conflict, according to the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015), the GCC Initiative and its implementation mechanism and Yemen's National Dialogue outcomes. The Ministers stressed the need for unimpeded, timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people, and noted with appreciation the efforts of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief center.
The Ministers affirmed their full commitment to safeguard the unity and territorial integrity of Yemen, and respect for its sovereignty and independence, to reject interference in its internal affairs, to stand by the Yemeni people and their aspirations for freedom, democracy and social justice.
They also expressed deep concern about dire humanitarian and economic situation in Yemen, called upon all Yemeni parties to facilitate urgent measures to further ensure safe humanitarian access and assistance operations and called on the international community to contribute to the humanitarian appeal for Yemen in 2016.
The Ministers emphasized the importance that relations between GCC member states and the Islamic Republic of Iran be based on the principles of good neighborhood, non-interference in internal affairs, respect of independency, sovereignty, territorial integrity, resolutions of disputes through peaceful means, according to the UN Charter and international law and renouncing of and refraining from the use or threat of use of force or provocations that might undermine confidence and threaten security and stability in the region. The Ministers emphasized their support for a peaceful solution between Iran and the UAE over the three islands Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, including direct negotiations between the two parties.
On Iraq, the Ministers reiterated their commitment towards maintaining the unity, stability, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, free of external interference. The two sides encouraged the achievement of more progress in Iraq towards alleviating sectarian tensions and effecting inclusive governance and reconciliation between all Iraqi parties including addressing the legitimate grievances of all components of the Iraqi society through implementation of reforms. The Ministers expressed solidarity with the Iraqi people in countering the terrorist organization Da’esh, calling for intensifying efforts to restore stability to the areas liberated from Da’esh to allow delivery of assistance to the refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya in accordance with the principles of non-interference in internal affairs. They expressed their deep concern over the increasing activities of terrorist groups in the country and voiced support for the ongoing political process and the relevant efforts of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya Martin Kobler.
The Ministers welcomed the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement on December 17, 2015 that was approved by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2259 (2015) as a key element for the settlement of the Libyan crisis. They called on all Libyan political parties, as well as tribal and regional groups to support the Presidency Council headed by Prime-Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and established in accordance with the Agreement. They also emphasized the importance of the approval of the Government of National Accord by the House of Representatives.
The Ministers agreed that despite ongoing instability in the region the task of settling the Arab-Israeli conflict should remain one of top priorities. They confirmed that they all seek to achieve a comprehensive, fair and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the established international legal basis, including relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Madrid Principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. They noted that intensified efforts of Russia and other members of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators in cooperation with the stakeholders are essential for the early achievement of these objectives.
The Ministers stressed the need for an immediate resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations aimed at establishing an independent, viable and territorially continuous Palestinian State enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. They urged all Palestinian parties to intensify their efforts towards reconciliation and national unity on the basis of the PLO platform.
The Ministers stressed the need to activate dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions as a strategic option, including seeking to preserve national identity and cultural norms, respect for cultural pluralism, so as to contribute to the restoration and deepen concepts of peace, security and justice, promoting the values of tolerance and mutual respect, increasing mutual understanding among nations and peoples, confronting all forms of violence and religious extremism, and addressing racist manifestations and racial or religious discrimination. They reaffirmed their support for the role in this regard of the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
The Ministers affirmed their support for programs and activities notably those carried out by the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia-Islamic World” related to the values of dialogue, cultural and civilizational interaction that contribute to better knowledge and mutual understanding among peoples of the Russian Federation, GCC countries and other Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states. In this regards they wished every success to the current meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia-Islamic World”, being held in Kazan, Russian Federation, on May 25-28, 2016.
As regards the issues of bilateral cooperation, the Ministers agreed as follows:
1. To promote an active political dialogue on pressing regional and international issues and to continue regular contacts between Foreign Ministers, as well as consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs, to that end;
2. With a view to maximizing the existing economic potential, to help create a favorable climate for stepping up mutual trade and investment by promoting contacts between representatives of business circles and enhancing cooperation in such fields as industry, transport, communications, agriculture, tourism, and health care;
3. To encourage the participation of GCC ministers in the International Industrial Exhibition “INNOPROM – 2017” in Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation, in 2017;
4. To continue energy cooperation, to organize joint meetings of experts and technical specialists aimed to develop relevant parameters, and to cooperate in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear security and renewable energy sources;
5. To maintain contacts with the GCC member countries within the existing joint bilateral working groups on cooperation in aluminum production and to discuss holding a GCC-Russia Ad Hoc Meeting in the UAE in 2016;
6. To foster further development of inter-parliamentary and interregional ties;
7. To interact in the field of higher education and scientific research through contacts between universities, higher schools and scientific research centers;
8. To improve cooperation in addressing challenges of development, environmental protection and natural resources conservation, emergency situations, natural disasters, environmental crises, and water resource policy.
The Ministers gave instructions to complete the GCC – Russia Joint Action Plan for the Strategic Dialogue and submit it for approval to their next meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September 2016.
The Ministers decided to hold the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Strategic Dialogue in 2017 in the Kingdom of Bahrain.