HM the King declared the session open and welcomed the GCC leaders, stressing deep-rooted fraternal relations binding member states and peoples. He paid tribute to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, lauding the dedicated efforts he exerted during his rotation presidency of the previous session.
He hailed the Saudi leader's farsighted vision which contributed to a large extent to elaborating the work orientations of the next period, commending the GCC leaders' strenuous efforts to strengthen the pillars of the historic six-member milestone that symbolises shared interests and a promising future.
"Our meeting convenes in the backdrop of unprecedented political and economic circumstances which affect all countries in the world", he said, urging the highest level of cooperation so that the GCC can pursue its successful progress and influential role on the international arena.
He hailed the landmark strides of the council, saying that it is no longer just a tool to consolidate achievements, but that it has also gained leverage and morphed into a regional power that takes the initiative to maintain security and peace in the region and the world.
He highlighted the GCC pivotal and active role in seeking political solutions and initiatives to the crises facing countries in the region and staving off foreign interference in their internal affairs. HM the King commended the GCC member states' dedicated efforts to achieve economic development, hailing landmark strides, which contribute to citizens' prosperity and well-being and strengthen joint march.
He saluted the establishment of the economic development commission which, he said, serves as a viable mechanism to bolster member states and turn them into a global economic actor, on the basis of productivity, competiveness and steady growth towards enhancing the level of sustainable development.
He hailed projects, initiatives and economic agreements sealed between member countries, citing particularly the GCC Common Market, the power and water grid as well as the planned customs union, modern telecommunications and transportation network towards comprehensive integration which features on the summit priorities.
While describing security and development as being interrelated, he urged the GCC countries to upgrade and activate defence and security pacts so as to confront threats and the scourge of terrorism and protect Gulf nations and peoples and preserve achievements.
HM the King hailed the Arabian Security 1 drills, which were held in Bahrain last month, and described them as an essential quantum leap towards strengthening security cooperation, commending the efficient organisation and the alertness to security dangers surrounding the GCC countries.
He saluted the success of the GCC member states in confronting the chaos resulting from extremism and terrorism and in preserving their development, progress and prosperity, which inspired many other countries that aspire to stability and peace.
HM the King commended GCC Secretary-General Dr. Adbullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, assistants and General-Secretariat staff to consolidate the standing of the council, follow-up the implementation of resolutions and upgrade its performance.
Text of HM the King's speech:
"With the help of God, we declare open the 37th session of the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council of the Gulf Arab States
We extend to you a fraternal welcome that expresses our sincere feelings and appreciation to you and reflects the hospitality of the people of Bahrain for this blessed meeting and the strong fraternal bonds between us.
We are also pleased to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to our brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, may God protect him, for the great efforts exerted during the last session that he chaired with outstanding wisdom and clear vision, contributing significantly to the development of the trends in our next joint actions.
We also express our appreciation of the tireless efforts of our brothers, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and their sincere endeavours in the consolidation of the foundations of this historical entity that reflects our shared interests and promising future.
Your Majesties, Your Highnesses,
We are holding our summit amid unprecedented political and economic developments that are confronting the whole world, and this requires from us the highest degrees of cooperation and integration in order for our Council to preserve its continuing success and its influential role on the world stage.
The GCC, in light of its commendable integration, is no longer just a tool to consolidate the achievements of our people; it has also become a regional icon that consecrates regional and international security and peace through its influential role in providing solutions and political initiatives for the crisis of the countries in the region and in preventing foreign interference in their domestic affairs.
The economic development efforts in the GCC countries are continuing, with great pride, resulting in the progress of achievements that contribute to higher living standards for the people and strengthen the process of joint action.
The establishment of the Economic and Development Affairs Commission, emanating from your esteemed Council, comes as a specific mechanism for achieving developmental integration and invigorating economic activities in our countries that will turn the Council into a major economic force on the global level, based on productivity, competitiveness and growth, and which boosts the level of sustainable development standards.
We commend here the economic projects, initiatives and agreements between the GCC countries, and most importantly, the GCC common market, the electrical and water grids, the move toward a customs union, and the project to link our countries with a communications and transport network through various advanced means such as causeways and trains, in order to achieve a comprehensive development integration that tops the priorities of this summit agenda and will enhance cooperation and cohesion between us.
We are increasingly certain that security and development are today more closely entwined than ever before. The continuation of our development and the activation of defense and security agreements to counter all forms of threats and terror are the way to save the integrity of our countries, the security of our peoples and the protection of our achievements.
The Arabian Gulf 1 drills that Bahrain had the honour to host last month and in which elites from the Gulf security forces took part, represented a pioneering and much-needed move forward on the road to reinforcing security cooperation between our countries. They were impressively carried out and carefully organized within a highly attentive awareness of the size of the security risks that surround our countries.
There is no doubt that the success of our countries in confronting the chaos of extremism and terrorism is attributed to the grace of God, and to your patience and wisdom to undermine this danger. Your genuine intentions and hard work were the factors for maintaining prosperity and development, and they were emulated by many countries aspiring for stability and peace.
As we conclude, we express our appreciation of the outstanding role of His Excellency, the Secretary General of the GCC Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the assistant secretaries and all staff of the Secretariat, to strengthen the position of the GCC and follow up the implementation of its decisions and the development of its performance.
We reiterate our welcome to you in your country, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and we ask God to bestow his support on us so that our common journey witnesses more achievements and our peoples and our countries are given more strength, stamina and greatness.
May God answer our prayers
Peace, and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you."