Qatar Chairs 25th Meeting of GCC-EU Political Committee

Brussels, July 03 (QNA) – The State of Qatar, the current chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), chaired Wednesday the 25th meeting of the GCC-EU political committee, held at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. The meeting brought together representatives from the GCC member states and the GCC Secretariat.

HE Director of Policy and Planning Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Fahad Al Khater, chaired the meeting on behalf of the GCC. The European side was headed by HE Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helene Le Gal.

The meeting was attended by HE Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Abdulaziz bin Ahmed Al Malki, and HE Director of GCC Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla bin Saif Al Mansouri.

During the meeting, participants discussed ways to enhance GCC-EU cooperation on regional and international developments, with a particular focus on the war in Gaza and regional security issues in the Gulf, including maritime security. They also reviewed the latest developments in Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Ukraine.

In his address to the meeting, HE Dr. Al Khater emphasized the multi-dimensional strategic partnership between the GCC and the EU, noting that, on political and security levels, there is close collaboration to achieve peaceful resolutions to various global conflicts.

His Excellency highlighted that both the Middle East and Europe are experiencing instability that has direct implications for international security. He pointed out that current risks, especially in the Middle East, are higher than ever.

His Excellency stated that, as the war in Gaza approaches its ninth month, the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people through starvation, forced displacement, and indiscriminate bombing continues unabated. The international community has so far failed to stop the war in Gaza and to provide minimal protection for children, women, and civilians. He stressed the need to end the suffering of the Palestinian people as part of ongoing efforts to establish security and peace.

His Excellency voiced concern that the cycle of violence in the region might expand due to the ongoing aggression and the obstinate policies of the Israeli government, coupled with the double standards adopted by many countries. He noted that escalating threats in the Red Sea and military attacks on Lebanon are direct consequences of the war on Gaza.

His Excellency warned that the international communitys continued tolerance of extreme Israeli policies without accountability has allowed Israeli actions to become a major source of instability in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf region. This situation has given rise to various actors presenting themselves as defenders of the Palestinian cause. Furthermore, the Israeli threat to extend the war to Lebanon risks pushing the region towards a broader conflict.

HE Director of the Policy and Planning Department of the MOFA stressed that the shared priority must be pressuring Israel to stop the ongoing massacres and prevent the continuation of violations of international humanitarian law, especially after Israel and its leadership have become exposed to international legal accountability by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). He continued stating that as part of the State of Qatar heading the current session, it has placed strengthening regional security by building bridges of dialogue and cooperation as its top priority out of the State’s belief that negotiations and resolving disputes through peaceful means are the best way to establish security and stability in the region as well as the world. His Excellency referred to the GCC’s announcement of its vision for regional security that reflects a common Gulf viewpoint on diplomacy, politics, security, counterterrorism, and energy. The GCC aims to intensify work with the EU regarding this vision and formulate paths for joint cooperation according to it in order to enhance security in the Gulf region, His Excellency said. His Excellency added that this meeting is an opportunity to strengthen and deepen joint GCC-EU cooperation at various levels to confront the rising racism reflected in the increase of dangerous anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Islamophobia and the normalization of racism against Muslims has rapidly worsened in all parts of the world and this created negative political space, His Excellency pointed out. His Excellency stressed that the path to security and stability in the region begins with stopping the war and taking decisive political steps. The GCC and the EU agree that the two-state solution, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and all relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions, is the only way to bring lasting peace. All sides must work jointly and urgently for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. His Excellency also emphasized the need to find joint solutions to these complicated developments and that today’s meeting is an important step in this regard. The meeting shall lay the foundations for high-level GCC-EU meetings notably the summit held next October that will contribute to strengthening and expanding the partnership between the GCC and EU. (QNA)