RIYADH, 20th October, 2023 (WAM) — President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has led the UAE delegation participating in the joint summit between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Riyadh. The summit was inaugurated by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The opening of the summit also witnessed the attendance of leaders from GCC member countries, their representatives, and heads of delegations, alongside leaders and heads of governments from ASEAN members in the presence of Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The delegation accompanying His Highness the President also attended the summit’s opening. The delegation included H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi; H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ali Mohammed Hammad Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President; and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The summit discussed enhancing cooperation between the GCC and ASEAN in various areas, with a focus on economic, investment, developmental, and political coordination. Additionally, the summit explored new opportunities to elevate strategic collaboration between the two sides to serve the aspirations of their peoples for further development and prosperity.
Upon arriving at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center, His Highness the President was received by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In his address, His Highness the President emphasised that this summit marks a new phase of cooperation between the GCC and ASEAN across diverse fields. This collaboration is especially significant given the close ties between the two sides and the myriad of opportunities to enhance shared interests in various areas, particularly in developmental sectors that serve aspirations for growth and prosperity. His Highness pointed out that the GCC and ASEAN share a collective will to advance relations in the coming period. This sentiment is embodied by the joint action plan for 2024-2028, which encompasses political, economic, commercial, investment, and other domains.
His Highness expressed his appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for his invitation to attend the summit. He also extended his appreciation to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for his significant efforts in leading the summit.
His Highness the President stated, “Today, as we assemble, our region faces a grave conflict, and the toll and risks associated with it amplify daily, especially in humanitarian terms.” His Highness offered condolences to the families of all victims of this conflict and wished a speedy recovery for the injured, reiterating the call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further escalation and its threat to regional peace.
He also emphasised the priority of preserving the lives of all civilians, providing protection for them, and opening humanitarian corridors for the unimpeded transportation of medical and relief aid to the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of collective efforts to find a horizon for comprehensive peace in the region.
His Highness underscored the UAE’s deep respect for its relationship with ASEAN countries as part of its approach to building bridges of cooperation worldwide to promote mutual growth and prosperity. He highlighted that economic and trade ties between the UAE and ASEAN countries have recently seen significant advancements. Furthermore, efforts are underway to deepen economic partnerships with ASEAN in the coming period to achieve transformative progress in bilateral relations.
His Highness added, “Today, the world faces serious challenges ranging from supply chain disruptions, energy and food security, climate change, and pandemics to various conflicts and disputes.” He affirmed the UAE’s belief in the importance of international cooperation and underscored the pivotal roles of diplomacy and dialogue as essential tools for building trust, resolving disputes, and establishing global peace and stability.
His Highness also noted the UAE’s role in hosting the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) later this year. He affirmed the nation’s collaboration with its partners to ensure the conference yields beneficial outcomes for all countries. His Highness stated that the UAE looks forward to the active participation of ASEAN countries in this collective endeavour for the betterment of humanity.