GCC slams world inaction on Syria

March 04, 2013 - 2:57:29 am


US Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal on his arrival in Riyadh, yesterday. Saudi Arabia is the seventh leg of Kerry’s first official overseas trip.

RIYADH: Gulf states criticised world inaction on Syria and Iranian “interference” in their internal affairs as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Saudi capital yesterday.

 “The Syrian crisis has become more of a quasi-catastrophe through the unjustified killing of the Syrian people,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Al Khalifa said at the opening session of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting.

Sheikh Khaled criticised “the international community’s lack of serious and rapid action” towards resolving the two-year conflict which the UN estimates has has cost more than 70,000 lives. 

The GCC nations also slammed what they charged was Iranian interference in their internal affairs. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Oman “look forward towards better relations with Iran, but unfortunately the latter continues to interfere in their internal affairs,” Sheikh Khaled said.

“It is important for our countries to stand united against such interference” from the Shia Islamic republic across the Gulf, he said. 

The GCC talks came with Kerry arriving in Riyadh, with Syria and Iran likely to top the agenda at his meetings. Yemen, the GCC states’ restive neighbour undergoing a difficult political transition, and the Saudi missile defence shield are also likely to be discussed, a diplomat said. Kerry is also due to visit the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.