Viewpoint: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
We share historic and deep-rooted relations with the countries in this region. These ties are based on shared interests, values, and a legacy that creates great momentum and motivates us to push forward to new phases of progress. This togetherness is vitally important if we are to achieve world security and peace, which is important in light of the rapid developments in the region and the complex crises facing the world. This makes consultations between different groups inevitable. Right now, broad cooperation is necessary, along with coordination between different governments and military institutions to ensure that our front is united and our ranks are unified in the face of all forms of terrorism, so that we can come together to defeat it.
Unprecedented political and economic developments are currently confronting the world, and this requires the highest degrees of cooperation and integration in order to preserve our successes and maintain influence on the world stage.
If terrorism, violence and extremism are the main causes of the divisions between people, then cooperation, tolerance and co-existence are the fundamental factors that can bring nations and communities together. Furthermore, since Islam’s message came for all of mankind, Islam can only be a religion of tolerance and co-existence among people and nations. It is a religion that preaches justice and equity, and calls for acquaintance and cooperation.
Thus we are united by common goals: tackling the different issues relating to world security and safety, addressing them effectively, and establishing firm pillars of security and peace for the sake of a more secure, stable and prosperous world.
The GCC – in light of its commendable integration – is no longer just a tool to consolidate the achievements of our people; it has also become a regional icon that preserves regional and international security and peace through its influential role in providing solutions and political initiatives for the crises of the countries in the region and in preventing foreign interference in their domestic affairs.
There is no doubt that the success that our countries have had in confronting the chaos of extremism and terrorism is attributed to the grace of God, and to utilising patience and wisdom to undermine this danger. Genuine intentions and hard work were the deciding factors in maintaining prosperity and development, and they were emulated by many countries aspiring towards stability and peace.
We are increasingly certain that security and development are more closely entwined today than ever before. The continuation of our development and the activation of defence and security agreements to counter all forms of threats and terror are the only way to save the integrity of our countries, the security of our peoples and the protection of our important achievements. The economic development efforts in GCC countries are continuing with great pride, resulting in the progress of achievements that contribute to higher living standards for people in the region.
The establishment of the Economic and Development Affairs Commission will turn the council into a major economic force on the global level, based on productivity, competitiveness and growth. In concert, these moves can boost sustainable development standards. We would like to commend here the economic projects, initiatives and agreements between the GCC’s member states. Some of the most important initiatives are the GCC common market, the electric and water grids, the move toward a Customs union and the project to link our countries via a communications and transport network, which will rely on the building of causeways and trains. These moves will help to encourage comprehensive development integration and enhance cooperation and cohesion between us.
Viewpoint excerpted from two speeches given by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, one at the 37th GCC Summit and the other at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.
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