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Riyadh Summit strengthens ties between Gulf Cooperation Council and ASEAN..

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The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) gathered in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Friday, October 20, 2023, under the leadership of  Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, in response to an invitation extended by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.

The joint statement issued during this historic event reaffirms the commitment of both regions to deepen their cooperation. All GCC countries have agreed to join the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with ASEAN, signifying their dedication to strengthening ties and exploring various avenues of collaboration.
Key highlights from the summit include a commitment to peace, security, and prosperity through respect for international law and the principles of good neighborliness. The leaders emphasized their joint efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of disputes, refraining from using or threatening force. Specific areas of cooperation were discussed, including maritime, communications, sustainable development goals, economics, and other potential areas of collaboration. The importance of maintaining peace, stability, and safety in the seas was highlighted, with a focus on freedom of navigation, lawful uses of the seas, and peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.

Both regions committed to enhancing trade and investment flows and announced the upcoming economic and investment conference to be hosted by Saudi Arabia in the first half of 2024. The leaders emphasized the importance of strengthening ties between the two regions at both bilateral and multilateral levels, with a focus on sustainable development, peace, security, and stability. Cultural exchange, dialogue between civilizations, and promoting tolerance, diversity, and peaceful coexistence were acknowledged, as well as the role of GCC and ASEAN countries in hosting major sporting events. Cooperation in addressing climate change and supporting sustainable, clean energy technologies was highlighted.

The summit emphasized the development of human resources, especially in the fields of education, vocational training, and improving the quality of education.
Pledges were made to empower women, eliminate violence against them, and promote their economic empowerment. Cooperation in public health was emphasized, focusing on prevention, preparedness, and response to health risks and threats. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and called for an ambitious and positive outcome in global efforts to combat climate change. In closing, the leaders expressed their gratitude to Saudi Arabia for hosting the summit and decided to hold future GCC-ASEAN summits once every two years. The next summit is scheduled to take place in Malaysia in 2025.

This historic summit marks a significant step toward stronger cooperation between the GCC and ASEAN, with leaders expressing their shared commitment to peace, stability, and prosperity in both regions. The joint statement reflects their dedication to enhancing diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties to address global challenges and seize opportunities for mutual growth and development.

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