Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visits Emirati Unit of the Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visits Emirati Unit of the Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain

Manama: Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday visited one of the Emirati units in the Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain.

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, as well as Lt. General Misbah Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Office of H.H. Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai were accompanying him.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and his entourage was received by Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and a number of senior Military officials.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid listen up to a military briefing on a number of topics and military tasks of the joint forces. He hailed the bravery and the competencies of military unit members that fulfil their national duties with utmost efficiency, stressing the brotherly relations between UAE and Bahrain on all levels, and wished them good luck and blessing in their endeavours in defending the peace in the region.

Later, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was presented a commemorative plaque depicting an old picture uniting His Highness and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa dating back to 1973 during his visit to Bahrain. He expressed gratitude and said the plaque hold sentimental value for him. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


33rd GCC Summit issues Sakhir Declaration

Manama: The 33rd Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), hosted by the kingdom of Bahrain under the Chairmanship of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in the presence of GCC leaders, concluded here yesterday and issued the Sakhir Declaration.

Following is the full text of the Sakhir Declaration read out by GCC Secretary-General Abullatif Rashid Al-Zayani.

The Sakhir Declaration

Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) holding their 33rd Supreme Council Session in Manama, Bahrain, on December 24 and 25, 2012, recalling the Riyadh Declaration issued on 25 Muharram 1433 AH, December 20, 2011, which included the adoption of the initiative Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to move from the stage of cooperation to one of union, transforming the Gulf Cooperation Council into a single entity that achieves righteous deeds and integration in response to the aspirations of the GCC citizens and to meet the challenges they face; Building on the initiatives of their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council to develop and activate the Cooperation Council, which underlined their support for the strengthening of defence, economic and social relations between its States, and in line with the objective set out in the first paragraph of Article IV of the GCC Statute, which provides for "coordination, complementarity and coherence between the Member States in all fields in order to achieve unity"; Believing in a common destiny and purpose between their peoples, emphasising that an attack on any State from the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf is an attack on them all, and that any threat on one of the Council's States is considered as a threat on all States; Convinced that coordination, cooperation and integration among the Gulf States supports GCC joint action and serves the ultimate goals of the Arab nation; To preserve and pursue further achievements and gains to meet the aspirations and hopes of the leaders and peoples of the GCC, through the formulation of an integrated and unified system able to interact with political, economic, social and security changes and challenges, and in pursuance of the desired Gulf citizenship and unity emphasised by their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council; Highly appreciative of the steps that have been taken to implement the decision of the Supreme Council on the timetable for achieving the common Gulf market and joint developments with regard to the areas stipulated in Article III of the Economic Agreement, especially in the areas of movement and residence for GCC nationals, the practice of trades and professions, movement of capital, tax measures, equality of treatment between nationals of the GCC in receiving education, health, social services, employment in government and private sectors, and social insurance and retirement; Welcoming the actions and activities undertaken by the Secretariat, at various levels, to educate citizens on the GCC common market and market opportunities and benefits provided; Their Majesties and Highnesses stress:


1. Their commitment to implementing all the decisions of the Supreme Council on GCC integration in all areas, in particular compliance with the timetable for the establishment of the Gulf common market and working to remove impediments to the application of the Customs Union;


2. The importance of strengthening the powers and role of the Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and its Secretary-General to follow up the implementation of decisions of the Supreme Council;


3. The need to promote the spirit of citizenship among the nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in various fields, through:

(a) Ongoing familiarisation with the Council's activities and its relationship to the lives of individuals and peoples of the GCC countries, their well-being and stability as a result of the conscious use of resources and focus on sustainable development and sustainable comprehensive security;

(b) Achieving full Gulf citizenship, to strengthen the social and family fabric and ties of kinship and cohesion, facilitating economic activity for GCC citizens, to broaden cooperation, exchange, economic and social integration;

(c) Intensifying communication between the Shura and National Councils in the Member States;

(d) Implementing decisions on facilitating and promoting the transfer of national manpower among Member States;

(e) Supporting national training centres, institutes and universities and to make them open to GCC nationals under the same conditions applicable to citizens of the concerned country.


4. The principle of joint collective security through the development of military capabilities and self-development of each of the GCC States, and the commitment to promote the development of the Common Defence System to defend the achievements of the States and peoples of the GCC, as a symbol of solidarity, destiny and purpose and the embodiment of common defence.


5. The GCC's achievements and great strides in the area of human rights, reflecting its response to global developments and the aspirations of their people, to maintain stability and security, and to reflect their culture and national heritage in accordance with the noble and authentic Arabian values, and all international charters and covenants and their proper global representation.

Request the Secretariat to follow-up and implement what has been agreed and submit a detailed report on this matter to the next meeting of the Supreme Council.

Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the GCC States look forward to achieving what has been set out in this Declaration, in a manner that will live up to the aspirations of the GCC citizens and meet their hopes for a more prosperous and brighter future. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


33rd GCC Summit rejects Iran's interference in Arab Gulf states' internal affairs

Manama: The 33rd summit of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Tuesday demanded Iran immediately and permanently end interference in the internal affairs of their countries and reiterated the six states' rejection and denunciation of Iran's policies and measures which would increase tensions in the region and threaten its security and stability.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their two-day summit, the six-member GCC states also stressed on the need for Iran's commitment to the principles of good neighbourly relations, mutual respect and to resolving disputes through peaceful means without resorting to threats.

"The council expressed its rejection and condemnation of the continuing Iranian interference in the affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council's states and called on Iran to stop these policies," the statement, read out by GCC Secretary-General Abdulatif Al-Zayani, said.

The statement reiterated the GCC's rejection of the continued Iranian occupation of the three UAE islands: Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and its firm stance of fully backing the UAE's full sovereignty over its islands, including their regional waters, airspace, continental shelf and their exclusive economic zone, as integral and inseparable parts of the UAE.

The statement emphasised that all actions and measures taken by the Iran on the three islands are null and void and change none of historical and legal facts all of which confirm the UAE's right to sovereignty on its islands.

It regretted that contacts with Iran on the issue of the UAE's islands had made no positive progress towards a solution that would enhance regional security and stability.

The GCC Supreme Council's statement also expressed concern over Iran's nuclear program as a source of threat to regional and international security and peace.

Stressing that Iran and other states have right to have peaceful nuclear power and stressing the need for Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear facilities under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The statement urged Tehran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and implement its international commitments, including commitment to the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East and the Gulf region.

It expressed the GCC states' hopes for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE willing to support non-sectarian government transformation in Syria

Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan received yesterday Ahmed Al Khatib, President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF) and discussed with him latest developments in the Syrian arena.

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE had always supported demands of the Syrian people and urged the regime there during early days of the crisis to resort to wisdom and to stop killing and destruction.

He praised the efforts made by the NCSROF President in unifying ranks of the Syrian opposition and referred to the Arab League, GCC and international efforts in that regard.

The meeting also touched on the situation in Syria and the UAE role in providing support to the Syrian people in the current stage by working with the NCSROF presidency.

"The UAE is determined to support a non-sectarian government transformation in Syria for a future built on a solid foundation," Sheikh Abdullah said.

He underlined the efforts being made by the United Nations through its special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to halt violence in Syria, to arrive at a comprehensive and peaceful settlement to the crisis, consistent with the aspirations of the Syrian people, to successfully manage the transitional period and to work with all to build a modern Syria for all Syrians, without discrimination or prejudice. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


UNESCO and Abu Dhabi explore closer ties

Closer ties between UNESCO and Abu Dhabi have been explored in a meeting in Paris between a delegation from the emirate led by Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and UNESCO's Director General, Irina Bokova.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority delegation included: TCA Abu Dhabi Board Members Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Jasem Al Darmaki, HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, TCA Abu Dhabi's Director General, and Rita Aoun, Executive Director of the authority's Cultural Department.

During the meeting, Bokova was briefed on the new organisation's (TCA Abu Dhabi) mission and strategic direction, particularly in relation to its commitment to preserving and promoting the emirate's rich culture and heritage, including the preservation of its intangible heritage. HE Sheikh Sultan reaffirmed Abu Dhabi's continuous support to UNESCO and explored further ideas and initiatives to enhance this successful co-operation.

Bokova will visit Abu Dhabi for next month's World Future Energy Forum and has committed to visiting Saadiyat Island - future home of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - during her stay.

Abu Dhabi has made major advancements on the UNESCO front over the past year with a range of assets in Al Ain - the emirate's heritage heartland - now being inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List. Last month UNESCO inscribed the Emirati performing art of Ayyala dance and its Taghruda poetry form as living human heritage in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This latest achievement adds to previous Abu Dhabi and UAE successes in getting both falconry and Al Sadu, a traditional weaving skill, inscribed in the UNESCO list.

According to UNESCO, intangible heritage is the living heritage of humanity. It includes all the expressions, customs and traditions that are inherited from forebears and handed down to descendents. Intangible heritage is found in oral traditions, like storytelling, in performing arts, in folklore and traditional crafts and trades, and in social customs and expressions and other living traditions. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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