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Gulf in line with UN on Russia-Ukraine conflict: GCC chief

MOSCOW: The position of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states on the Russia-Ukraine war is aligned with established UN conventions and principles, the bloc’s chief Jassem Al-Budaiwi said on Monday. Gulf Arab states back the UN principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, in addition to all mediation efforts aiming to resolve the Russia-Ukraine war, he told strategic ministerial-level talks between the Riyadh-based bloc and Moscow.

Budaiwi spoke of the ripple effect the conflict has sparked across the entire world, particularly the steep rise in global food prices that will only gradually go down in the event a UN-brokered Black Sea grain export deal is extended, he underlined. The talks come at a time where the world is dealing with mounting challenges, chief among them food security, while the bloc supports “dialogue and diplomacy” as viable solutions to global conflicts, he added.

On ties with Moscow, the GCC secretary general cited progress in relations as evidenced by holding these “strategic” talks, while the fields of energy, trade and investment have seen a growing level of cooperation, he said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described relations between Russia and the GCC countries as “relations of friendship and partnership based on consensus”. Lavrov said during a press conference held at the end of the ministerial meeting that the “existing relations between Russia and the GCC countries are relations of friendship and partnership based on mutual respect and take into account the interests of each party”.

“The talks showed that we always present our positions in an honest manner and that neither side is working against the other,” he said, noting that relations between the two sides are based on consensus and non-interference in the affairs of the other side. He pointed to the agreement of the two sides to strengthen and diversify economic relations and ties, invest in all available opportunities and activate joint government committees between Russia and each of countries. Lavrov stressed Russia’s readiness “to meet the needs of Arab countries of wheat and grains, stressing that there are no obstacles hindering cooperation in this field”.

On the other hand, Lavrov expressed his conviction that Syria’s return to the Arab League in May contributed to “improving the political situation in the Middle East and strengthening the positions of Arab countries at the international level”. He said that the participants in the strategic dialogue expressed their support for Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and paid attention to the need to advance the process of comprehensive settlement, reconstruction and normalization of relations between Russia and regional countries.

Lavrov also welcomed the normalization of Arab-Iranian relations, saying the resumption of relations between Riyadh and Tehran contributes to creating a positive atmosphere in the region. He stated that the countries participating in the strategic dialogue issued a joint statement and agreed on an action plan for the period from 2023 to 2028. – AFP

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