Gulf states welcomes Iran shift, condemns Syrian regime
Gulf states welcomes Iran shift, condemns Syrian regime
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SHOTLIST: KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT, DECEMBER 11, 2013. SOURCE: KUWAIT TV NO RESALE FOR NON EDITORIAL PURPOSES SOUNDBITE 1 - Abdullatif Al-Zayani (man), secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Arabic, 18 sec): "The council welcomes the new orientation by the Iranian leadership towards the Gulf Cooperation Council and hopes it will be followed by concrete measures that would positively impact regional peace and stability." SOUNDBITE 2 - Abdullatif Al-Zayani (man), secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Arabic, 21 sec): "The council strongly condemned the continued genocide that (President Bashar) al-Assad's regime is committing against the Syrian people using heavy and chemical weapons, which are banned by international law, and affect regional stability and security. (The council is) calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria." - MS of the GCC meeting - MS of GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani reading a joint statement at the end of the two-day summit in Kuwait - VAR of the meeting /// ------------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORIES: Gulf states call on foreign forces to leave Syria KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - 11 December 2013 12:47 - AFP - LEAD Gulf states called Wednesday for the withdrawal of "all foreign forces" from Syria, where Iran-backed Shiite militias from Iraq and Lebanon are supporting regime troops against Sunni-led rebels and foreign fighters. The Gulf Cooperation Council "strongly condemned the continued genocide that (President Bashar) al-Assad's regime is committing against the Syrian people using heavy and chemical weapons... calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria," the six nations said in a statement at the end of a two-day summit in Kuwait. Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias have been battling alongside Assad's forces against the Sunni-led rebels, who are supported by GCC members Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There are also foreigners fighting on behalf of the rebels, including jihadists from across the Muslim world and the West. The GCC backed the rebels' position that Assad play no role in any political transition agreed to in talks scheduled for next month in Geneva while urging the opposition to attend the meeting. "Pillars of the Syrian regime whose hands had been stained by the blood of the Syrian people must have no role in the transitional government or Syria's political future," the oil-rich nations said in their statement. They also voiced support for the Syrian National Coalition's decision to attend the Geneva 2 conference "as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people." The National Coalition, an umbrella opposition group also backed by the West, had agreed to attend next month's Geneva 2 peace conference under certain conditions, including that Assad play no role in any transitional government. The Geneva talks are aimed at ending the nearly three-year-long civil war, which has killed an estimated 126,000 people and driven millions from their homes. Syria's uprising began as a series of peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011 but rapidly escalated into an armed conflict after the regime launched a brutal crackdown on dissent. oh-lyn/jk ---- Gulf states hail Iran's 'new orientation' KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - 11 December 2013 13:14 - AFP - LEAD The six Arab monarchies of the Gulf on Wednesday hailed the "new orientation" of Iran's leadership and urged that "concrete measures" towards regional peace follow. The comments came in a statement issued at the end of a two-day summit in Kuwait City of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises six Gulf states led by Sunni-dominated heavyweight Saudi Arabia. The monarchies "welcome the new orientation by the Iranian leadership towards the Gulf Cooperation Council and hope it will be followed by concrete measures that would positively impact regional peace," the statement said. They also "welcome the interim deal signed by the P5+1 and Iran as a first step toward an inclusive and lasting agreement on Iran's nuclear programme that would end international and regional concerns." Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week tried to assure Gulf states the nuclear deal was not at their expense and called for a new page in relations as he toured four GCC countries, but not Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. The tour followed comments by Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani who, when he took over from hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August, said he hoped to improve relations with neighbouring countries, especially Gulf states. While welcoming the change in stance from Iran's leaders, the GCC also betrayed a wariness towards their commitment to the nuclear deal, urging them to implement it "under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency". In the same vein, the GCC condemned Tehran's "occupation" of the three islands in the southern Gulf, Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb, and Greater Tunb. The islands are under Iranian control but are claimed by the UAE. Gulf monarchies, like Western powers, fear that Iran may develop nuclear weapons under cover of its disputed nuclear programme. Iran says its atomic drive is for peaceful purposes only. Saudi Arabia, long wary of Tehran's regional ambitions, had earlier reacted cautiously to the nuclear deal reached in Geneva, saying it could mark the first step towards a comprehensive solution for Iran's nuclear programme "if there are good intentions". Besides Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the GCC comprises Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. oh-wak/lyn/bpz
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