UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the secretary general of the GCC on Monday at Chevening House, where they agreed to strengthen their relationship across all fields, according to a joint communique.
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“We have agreed to build stronger ties with the Gulf to create jobs, drive growth and make us all safer,” Truss wrote in a tweet.
In the communique, Truss and GCC foreign ministers “strongly condemned” the Iran-backed Houthis militia’s repeated attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The UK and GCC foreign ministers expressed grave concern about the escalation in Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.
They discussed the resumption of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) talks in Vienna and “underlined that this is the last opportunity to restore the JCPoA as Iran’s continued nuclear escalation is permanently eroding the benefits of the deal and undermining regional and international security,” according to the communique.
“They called on the new Iranian administration to play a positive regional role, abide by international norms, respect their neighbors’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, and refrain from supporting militant groups,” the communique added.
The ministers also condemned “the proliferation of advanced ballistic missiles” and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) used by Iran and its proxies in hundreds of attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in the region.
Truss met with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al Sabah, the Secretary General of the GCC Nayef al-Hajraf, and the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh.During the meeting, the UK and GCC foreign ministers emphasized the importance of enhancing people-to-people links, the joint statement read.
The ministers highlighted their belief that this ambitious strategic partnership between the UK and GCC member states is essential in promoting peace, security, stability and economic growth in the Middle East region and beyond, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stated.
According to the communique, the ministers have committed to expand GCC-UK shared ambition and develop the partnership in emerging areas such as clean technology, digital infrastructure and cyber, in order to “help keep UK and GCC citizens safe, and generate business opportunities and jobs”.
The foreign ministers of the UK and GCC also agreed to strengthen security and economic relations, paving the way for an era of closer cooperation in trade, cybersecurity and inves