EUROPEAN UNION – Brussels, 31 January 2012 (A 31/12 )
Statement by the High Representative Catherine Ashton after her
meeting with Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani, Secretary
General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:
“Today, I met the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr Abdullatif AlZayani. The EU’s relations with the Gulf countries are extremely important – since I took office I have been determined to intensify our dialogue and cooperation on many matters of common interest.
We shared our grave concern about the situation in Syria, where the regime continues its outrageous campaign of repression against the Syrian people. I repeated the EU’s call for an immediate end to violence, and underlined our support to the Arab League’s efforts to halt the crisis. We urge all members of the UN Security Council to assume their responsibilities and take urgent steps to end the crackdown.
On Yemen, I commended the Gulf Cooperation Council for its leadership and sustained efforts and we agreed that the international community must continue to cooperate very closely to help Yemen tackle its many challenges.
I also informed the Secretary General of the recent EU decision to impose additional restrictive measures against Iran. We call on Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities and abide by its international obligations. I reiterated that the door remains open for meaningful negotiations, and confirmed that the EU will continue its dual-track approach.
We also discussed the Middle East Peace Process, Libya, the situation in the Gulf region, and EU-GCC relations”.