Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman urged members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to “unite efforts” against “threats posed by the Iranian regime” on Tuesday in his speech at the 41st GCC Summit in the Saudi city of Al-Ula.
The GCC is an intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states in the Persian Gulf except Iraq: the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman.
“We are in utmost need to unite our efforts to advance our region and confront the challenges that surround us, particularly the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, its ballistic missile program, its destructive sabotage projects as well as its terrorist and sectarian activities adopted by Iran and its proxies to destabilize the security and stability in the region,” Mohammed bin Salman said at Tuesday’s summit, according to the Saudi-owned news site Al Arabiya.
“Which puts us in front of the responsibility of inviting the international community to work seriously to stop these programs and projects that threaten regional and international peace and security,” he added.
Mohammed bin Salman also thanked the United States in his speech for its work to mediate a rift between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E., and Egypt over the past three years. The efforts proved successful on Monday when Kuwait’s foreign ministry, another arbitrator in the dispute, announced that Saudi Arabia would reopen its airspace, land, and sea borders with Qatar after shutting them in 2017.
Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain, and Egypt launched an embargo against Qatar in 2017 after accusing the kingdom of demonstrating undue support toward Iran and its links to terrorism. The Saudi-led coalition alleged that Qatar violated a 2014 agreement with fellow members of the GCC by supporting Iranian-backed terrorism. It presented the Persian Gulf nation with a list of 13 demands to fulfill, including Qatar ending its support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and shutting down the news network Al Jazeera, which is headquartered in the Qatari capital of Doha.
While Qatar did not meet the ultimatums, the three-year rift between the kingdom and its fellow GCC members was largely healed this week. The Saudi crown prince welcomed Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani with a warm embrace as he deplaned in Al-Ula ahead of the GCC summit on Tuesday.
Mohammed bin Salman announced at Tuesday’s GCC summit that all member states had signed the Al-Ula Declaration, named after the historic Saudi region that hosted the 41st annual summit this week. The Al-Ula Declaration “affirms the importance of the solidarity and stability in the Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries and strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among our countries and peoples in order to serve their aspirations,” he said.