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GCC welcomes EU 'strategic partnership' with Gulf

Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 17, 2022. - Gulf Arab countries are seeking to host rare talks between Yemen's warring parties, including the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, in Riyadh at the end of the month, officials said. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on 17 March 2022 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images]

Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef Al-Hajraf, yesterday welcomed the European Union's adoption of a Joint Communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf.

"The Gulf countries are keen on the strategic partnership with the European side, and are working to strengthen itm" Al-Hajraf said in a statement, adding that the Gulf countries have strong relations with the European Union, but "the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement on trade despite starting negotiations three decades ago, due to procrastination by European side."

Earlier in the day, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrel, announced that the European Parliament and the European Commission have adopted a Joint Communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf with the aim of broadening and deepening the European Union (EU)'s cooperation with the GCC and its member states.

The joint communication aims to expand and deepen cooperation between the two sides and activate cooperation agreements signed between the two sides in 1988 at all levels.

In his statement, Al-Hajraf pointed out that the development of relations between the EU and the GCC serve common interests and cooperation in bilateral and regional issues and enhance efforts to improve security and prospects for sustainable development for both sides.

He expressed his aspiration to translate the contents of the joint communication in a practical way, and to raise relations to broader horizons in order to serve security and stability in the region.

Al-Hajraf also expressed his aspiration "to seize economic opportunities, trade and investment cooperation, advance the tracks of free trade negotiations, and enhance coordination and partnership in facing challenges threatening global security and stability."

READ: GCC Chief, UN envoy discuss efforts to end Yemen conflict

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