King Salman says Gulf unity is needed against Iran at GCC Summit

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, during his opening speech at the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit held in Riyadh on Tuesday, stressed that the Gulf countries must unite against the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region.

Since its establishment, the Saudi King said, the GCC has been able to overcome several crises that have hit the region.

“Our region today is undergoing circumstances and challenges that call for concentrated efforts to confront them. The Iranian regime continues its aggressive policies to undermine the security and stability [of the region], and [continues to] support terrorism,” King Salman said.

The GCC states must unite to preserve their countries, as well as the interests of their people, he said.

The Saudi King also called on the international community to take the necessary measures to ensure energy supplies and freedom of maritime navigation are secured.

“We cannot fail, during this meeting, to reaffirm our position on the Palestinian cause and the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” King Salman added.

Saudi Arabia welcomes the Yemeni government’s efforts in reaching the Riyadh Agreement, the King said, stressing the importance of a political solution in Yemen.

He also reaffirmed that the Kingdom will continue to support Yemen in order to ensure the country’s security and stability.

King Salman welcomed the heads of delegations from the GCC countries earlier on Tuesday, including the UAE delegate Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Qatar’s delegate Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Oman’s delegate Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers.

The summit will see heads of state discuss key topics that include maritime security, Iran’s interference in the region, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Syrian crisis, the war in Yemen, as well as enhancing cooperation within the council.

This year’s summit comes amid heightened regional tensions following the September 14 attacks on two Saudi oil facilities and a spate of attacks on shipping in the Gulf, which have been widely blamed on Iran.

The GCC has supported Washington’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran through sanctions, and the region is at a heightened state of alert for further backlashes.