Manama, Dec. 11 (BNA): In line with the deep-rooted and historic ties that unite both the leadership and citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and following recent joint efforts to further bolster strategic cooperation and integration across several fields, and in accordance with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commenced on an official visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain on 5-6/5/1443 AH corresponding to 09/12/2021.
During the visit, an official session of talks were held between His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain’s long-standing partnership and ways to further develop cooperation across various industries and sectors for the enhancement of the two countries, and their citizens, were discussed.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud also discussed the latest regional developments, and affirmed the unity of the two peoples and common destiny towards all regional and international issues and developments of common interest, and for the interest of the two countries and peoples, as well as the security and peace in the region and the world.
Both parties reaffirmed the contents of the Al-Ula Declaration issued on 05 January 2021, which stipulated the full and accurate implementation of the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which was approved by the Supreme Council at its 36th session in December 2015 according to a specific timetable and subsequent review.
The Declaration included consolidating elements of economic calibration and shared defence and security systems, coordinating in a way that enhances the solidarity and stability of the GCC countries and strengthening their role within the region by unifying policy, developing diplomatic partnerships with the international community as well as regional and international organisations, to promote the growth and development of the GCC states and unity among its members.
They additionally exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and affirmed efforts to coordinate their policy positions to serve the interests of both Kingdoms, and enhance regional and international security and stability.
They affirmed their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state solution, relevant international legitimacy resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a manner that guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud discussed the importance of continuing efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis, based on the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, UN Security Council Resolution No. 2216, and in a manner that preserves the unity, safety, sovereignty and independence of Yemen and rejects any interference in its internal affairs. Both sides also condemned the continued targeting of dignitaries, airports, and vital infrastructure by the terrorist Houthi militia in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On the Republic of Iraq, the leaders jointly welcomed the success of the electoral process and expressed their wishes for the formation of an Iraqi government that will continue to work towards the security, stability and development of Iraq, eliminating terrorism and prohibiting foreign interference in its internal affairs.
The mutual resolution of both nations to the Transitional Period in Sudan was agreed on, and they reaffirmed support for measures that will achieve security and stability in Sudan, and prosperity for its people.
On the Lebanese issue, both sides affirmed their commitment to the security, stability and unity of the Lebanese territories, and the importance of carrying out comprehensive reforms to ensure that Lebanon overcomes its crises and confines arms to the legitimate state institutions. The leaders expressed their mutual concern that Lebanon must maintain territorial integrity not harbour terrorist organisations and groups that diminish the security and stability of the region, such as Hezbollah, and swiftly implement measures to curb drug exports that threaten the safety of societies.
On the Syrian issue, the two sides reaffirmed that a diplomatic solution is the only solution to the crisis, supporting the efforts of the United Nations and its Special Envoy in this regard, as the conduit to implementing the relevant international resolutions, foremost of which is Security Council Resolution No. 2254, and to preventing interventions that threaten the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and affirmed their standing by the Syrian people and the need to support international humanitarian efforts in Syria.
On the Libyan issue, they stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis in accordance with international law, in a manner that preserves the interests of the Libyan people and the territorial integrity of Libya, with the additional aim of enhancing regional security and peace. They also stressed the need to withdraw mercenaries and foreign entities from Libya.
With regard to Afghanistan, the need to support security and stability in Afghanistan was stressed, as well as the need to prevent the existence of safe havens for terrorists and extremists within the country. The two sides condemned any bad actors targeting Afghan refugees in various conflict areas and expressed the importance of supporting relief efforts and humanitarian work in Afghanistan. In this regard, the Kingdom of Bahrain valued the Saudi invitation to meet with the The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, which will be held as an Extraordinary Meeting in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 19 December 2021.
They also stressed the importance of cooperation and dealing seriously and effectively with Iran's nuclear and missile file, including all components with penalties that are constructive to achieving regional and international security and stability, emphasising the principles of good neighbourliness and respect for UN resolutions and international legitimacy, and sparing the region from all destabilising activities. Both parties demand that the interests, security and stability of the countries of the region are taken into account in seeking resolution on the issue.
Both sides affirmed their determination to enhance cooperation on all political issues and formulate common positions that preserve national security and stability in both nations. Continued coordination and consultation on developments in all bilateral and multilateral forums, in a manner that contributes to achieving security, stability and prosperity for the two countries and their citizens, and the peoples of the region and the world at large, is of the greatest importance.
Then, the second meeting of the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council was held, co-chaired by HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, with the participation of the members of the Council from both countries.
The two sides reviewed the distinguished outcomes achieved through meetings of the Council's sub-committees and expressed their satisfaction with what was accomplished during the preparations for the meeting of the second session of the Council to achieve its desired goals.
In this context, a number of initiatives have been launched that contribute to strengthening consultation and continuous coordination between the two countries’ foreign ministries, coordinating positions to counter extremist ideology, especially among youth in both countries and implementing parallel courses for young diplomats for the preservation and enhancement of communication and cooperation between consular authorities in the two kingdoms.
Regarding security and military affairs, both sides expressed satisfaction with the existing cooperation between the two countries, and stressed the continuation of joint work between them. In this context, the two sides have launched a number of initiatives that will further cooperation, coordination and consultation in the fields of security and military services, as well as enhancing cooperation in the field of cybersecurity and facilitating trade procedures, in addition to facilitating the transit of travellers through air and land ports, and networking or electronic linking between the concerned authorities in the two countries in a number of fields.
Regarding the energy sector of both countries, and concerning climate change, the two sides praised the close cooperation between them, and the successful efforts of the OPEC+ countries aimed at stabilising the global oil markets. They also stressed the importance of continuing this cooperation, and the need for all participating countries to adhere to OPEC+ agreements.
The two sides welcomed cooperation in the oil and gas sector, and the exchange of expertise in this field. They agreed to enhance methods of cooperation on international climate policies, and to work on emissions rather than sources through the application of a circular carbon economy approach, the Middle East Green initiative, and by seeking to establish a regional complex for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to address carbon emissions using an economically stable solution.
In addition to cooperation in the field of CCUS and the associated hydrogen sector, developing technologies related to its transportation and storage, and the exchange of expertise to implement best practices in the field of hydrogen was also discussed. The two sides expressed their mutual aspiration to enhance cooperation in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and clean technologies for hydrocarbon resources, and to develop related projects in these fields, to contribute sustainability to the demand of energy supplies globally.
They stressed the importance of enhancing the trade electricity, benefiting from connected energy sector projects, and cooperating to stimulate innovation, additionally by applying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence to the energy sector, and developing the incubating environment for it.
In the financial services sector, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirmed its support for the Fiscal Balance Program of the Kingdom of Bahrain and welcomed the efforts made by the Government of Bahrain in implementing the program. The Kingdom of Bahrain welcomed the commitment of the Saudi Public Investment Fund in investing USD$ 5 billion in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The two sides discussed a package of major investment projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Council instructed ministers from both sides to coordinate and collaborate on detailed technical studies during 2022 in preparation for final decisions on them by the Council.
Concerning the fields of culture, media, tourism and social development, the two sides stressed the importance of highlighting the positive image of both countries and strengthening and developing cooperation in these areas. The two nations launched a number of initiatives that will consolidate bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, sports, culture, health and entertainment, in addition to the media.
The package included new provisions for working to unify the privileges related to (COVID-19) vaccination and testing procedures to facilitate travel between the two countries, additionally supporting the fields of tourism, youth, and social development. Both countries committed to furthering the exchange of expertise regarding non-profit organisations, non-profit leadership and ways to develop them in both countries.
They also emphasised enabling and enhancing investment opportunities between the two countries in priority sectors, such as infrastructure and those which benefit the environment, to achieve the Council’s objectives and to strive towards high value investments and value-added initiatives. Acting on this, the two sides launched several initiatives to promote the sectors of telecommunications, information technology, the environment and infrastructure, and the promotion of investment between the two countries in various sectors.
They also stressed the importance of empowering the private sector more generally and ensuring the sector takes advantage of the available opportunities and the diverse capabilities possessed by the two countries, and to work on developing expertise.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has expressed its full support for the Saudi Green initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative.
On the sidelines of the visit, a number of memoranda of understanding were signed in the areas of cybersecurity, protection of intellectual property rights, areas of standardisation, and procedures for conformity assessment of biodegradable plastic products.
At the conclusion of the visit, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, expressed his thanks and appreciation to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and to, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, for the warm reception and generous hospitality the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the accompanying delegation received during their stay in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, also conveyed his best wishes to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and for Saudi citizens, further progress and prosperity.