Leaders of the GCC states have issued a sharp denunciation of Iraq, calling for continued international pressure on Baghdad to observe all UN resolutions and to respect Kuwaiti sovereignty. The GCC’s 14th summit, held in Riyadh on 20-22 December, also welcomed the PLO-Israel peace declaration as a ‘primary step’ on the way to a just settlement based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

In a statement issued on 22 December, the organisation said the summit had approved all recommendations of the defence ministers, including doubling the Saudi-based Peninsula Shield joint force. A high commission, with a rotational presidency, will be formed to follow up implementation of resolutions.

The GCC once again reiterated its support for the UAE in its dispute with Iran over sovereignty of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb islands in the Gulf. Referring to Iranian ‘occupation’ of the islands, the GCC leaders asked Iran to respond to a UAE call for a direct dialogue, stressing that Tehran must show good intentions before relations can improve. In Tehran, the Foreign Affairs Ministry dismissed the UAE claim of sovereignty, saying Iran’s offer of talks without preconditions still stands.