On the 25th of May, the Gulf Cooperation Council will mark the 42nd anniversary of its establishment GCC, on the 25th of May 1981.
On May 25, 1981, the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, the State of Kuwait, the State of Qatar, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, in a meeting held in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, reached a cooperative formula that includes the six countries. It aims to achieve coordination, integration, and interdependence between their countries in all fields, leading to their unity. Article 4 of the GCC Charter also stresses the deepening and strengthening of ties, connections, and aspects of cooperation between the citizens of the GCC countries.
The organizational structure of the Gulf Cooperation Council consists of the Supreme Council, with the membership of the leaders of the member states, the Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council, the Dispute Settlement Commission, the Ministerial Council, and the Secretariat General.
The Saudi capital, Riyadh, is the permanent seat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, where the council holds its meetings, but it can meet in any of the member states.
Despite the common challenges faced by the six states during the past 42 years, the forty-two-year history of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has witnessed great achievements in various fields, which have reflected on the Gulf citizens and achieved their aspirations on all economic, political, military and security levels, and on the regional and international arenas.
In this piece, Leaders MENA highlights memorable milestones in the GCC’s march of achievements.
The first GCC Summit
The first Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council was held in May 1981 in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.
On 25th May 1981, Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, and the State of Kuwait met in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, where they reached a cooperative framework joining the six states to affect coordination, integration, and interconnection among the Member States in all fields in order to achieve unity, according to article 4 of the GCC Charter.
Attendance: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates; King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia; Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman; Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of the State of Qatar; Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait; Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain.
Despite the departure of the founders, their successors have always followed the path with regard to the unity of the Arab Gulf, the responsibility of the Gulf Cooperation Council is to confront all attempts to prejudice the interests of member states and to participate in resolving all crises at the regional level.
Al-Ula Summit: Restoring the Unity of the GCC
During a landmark summit held at Maraya Concert Hall in the historic Saudi city of AlUla, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, on behalf of King Salman, the GCC leaders signed the “AlUla Declaration” at the 41st GCC Summit, named “the Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah” in appreciation of their efforts.
The GCC leaders reaffirmed their commitment to achieving cooperation, interdependence, and integration between their countries in all fields.
The declaration called for GCC unity and enhanced its regional and international role as one economic and political bloc that helps achieve security, peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
Riyadh China-Gulf Summit Writes a New Chapter for GCC
In December 2022, the China-Gulf summit took place in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh in the presence of Gulf leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting “reflects a mutual desire to enhance Chinese-Gulf cooperation,” Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman said during his address, adding that the summit “establishes a historic new phase of Chinese-Gulf cooperation.”
Crown Prince Mohammed said: “The GCC views Beijing as a significant main partner and these positive ties have reflected on our joint interests and the security and stability of our region.”
Moreover, HRH underscored the “rapid economic growth and major technological advances achieved by China under the leadership of Xi. China’s pioneering role in the global economy is a testament to this success story.”
Crown Prince Mohammed stressed that Gulf countries prioritize elevating the strategic partnership with China, seeking to maximize the gains from their ties.
He cited the strategic cooperation between the Gulf and China in trade, investment, energy, education, scientific research, the environment, and health.
He said that the Gulf was keen on expanding this partnership further.
Crown Prince Mohammed underlined the Gulf countries’ efforts in bolstering regional security and stability and their support of political solutions and dialogue to resolve regional and international tensions and conflicts.
Such an approach ensures that peace, security, and stability can be achieved, he added, while also underscoring the need for all mercenary militias to withdraw from Arab countries and the cessation of foreign meddling in Arab affairs.
For his part, President Xi said his country has been in constant communication with the GCC since its formation.
He noted the council’s success in overcoming global challenges and the possibility of achieving economic and industrial integration between the GCC and China.
He remarked that relations with the Gulf are based on mutual trust. Beijing will continue to support the region’s security and import oil in great quantities from it.