The US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum
October 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, I joined Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, at the second ministerial meeting for the US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum. The Forum formally launched in March 2012 as a vehicle to deepen strategic cooperation between the United States and GCC member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) in an effort to advance a variety of shared political, military, security, and economic interests.
In the face of common threats, the Forum agreed to intensify coordination on issues of mutual importance in the Arabian Gulf and reaffirmed ongoing plans for the forging of closer ties to deal with threats to the territory of the GCC states. The Forum also emphasized the need to bolster mutual defense capabilities to preserve freedom of navigation of waterways and to combat any threats to close the Straits of Hormuz.
The Forum also discussed the ongoing situations in Syria and Yemen, as well as the need for closer coordination to bring about a “just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seeking a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Forum participants reinforced their rejection of terrorism and extremism and condemned recent attacks against American and other international diplomatic facilities. They also condemned “the vulgar video clip that sought to denigrate the Prophet Mohammed and expressed their rejection of any intentional efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
The depth of cooperation the Forum encourages underscores the important relationship the GCC countries share with the United States. All GCC countries are proud to serve as the home to American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the Middle East, and we are eager to continue our military relationship with the United States that spans many decades.