Arab Gulf countries affirm unity and solidarity
The historic Saudi city of Al-Ula hosted the Gulf Cooperation Council’s 41st summit, on January 5, 2021, with the participation of the Emir of the State of Qatar, a day after Riyadh and Doha announced the reopening of the airspace and the land and sea borders between the two countries after three years of closure.
The decision to hold the Summit in the ancient city carries significant symbolism. Located in the north-west of Saudi Arabia, AlUla is known for its rocky structures and ancient engravings. The city lies along the historic trade route linking the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Egypt. It houses dozens of artifacts that date back to 900 B.C.
During a landmark summit held at Maraya Concert Hall in the historic city, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense, the leaders signed the final communiqué, termed as “AlUla Declaration.” The communiqué states that the GCC leaders will continue the march of unity and cooperation to achieve common interests to serve their peoples and consolidate security and stability in the region.
Summit confirms solidarity
In this context, the Saudi Crown said the Summit “confirms Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity, and strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among our countries and peoples, in a way that serves their hopes and aspirations.”
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia added: “Today, we are in dire need to unite our efforts to advance our region and face the challenges surrounding us.”
A Fresh start
The summit was preceded by the announcement of the reopening of the Saudi airspace and borders to Qatar, which was considered an indication of an imminent reconciliation in the Gulf after a crisis that lasted more than three years.
On December 4, Kuwait announced, in a statement, that “fruitful discussions” would be held during the last period, as part of efforts to achieve reconciliation in the Gulf that has continued since 2017, while Qatar described the Kuwaiti statement as an “important step.”
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Sabah affirmed that the parties participating in the Gulf reconciliation talks expressed their keenness on Gulf and Arab stability and reached a final agreement that would achieve their common aspirations in terms of lasting solidarity and achieving what is good for their people.
Understanding and solidarity
On the Summit’s sidelines, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Maraya Hall in the historic city Al-Ula.
“During the meeting, they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and ways to enhance joint Gulf action,” the statement said.
Overall, observers hope that the Summit will usher in a new era of mutual understanding and solidarity among the Gulf States and further consolidates the existing brotherly ties. The reconciliation among the Gulf States will surely have a positive impact at the regional level and beneficial to the whole world.