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  Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Calls for Adopting Interdependence to Address the Challenges Facing the Middle East

GCC- Cambridge
The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani called for adopting mutual interdependence to address the challenges facing the Middle East.
He said that the key to address the challenges of the Middle East is how to encourage others to adopt the basic concept of interdependence without terrible conflicts, pointing out that if we want to influence the foreign powers to work to reconcile their interests with the interests of the region, we will certainly need a coordinated, common and focused response to the issues we face.
This came in the speech delivered by HE the Secretary General at the opening session of the Gulf Research Center Forum held on Monday, 15 July 2019, at the University of Cambridge, with the participation of elite of specialists, thinkers and researchers.
The Secretary-General spoke about the developments taking place in the region and where the States and international powers stand on them, noting that all foreign powers seek to influence the region for what they call national interests, but these powers are now realizing that it is best for them to work towards lasting settlements of the region's crises rather than short-term gambles.
In his speech, the Secretary-General raised a number of important questions, including; what after the situation in the Middle East calm down? What is the way to achieve a secure, stable and sustainable Middle East? Calling on the participants to search for answers to the questions arose.
"The overall picture of the region is very complicated; there are overlapping relationships, simple differences, clear contradictions and motives are constantly growing; however, the issues and challenges are quite clear: Palestine, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, ISIS and other terrorist groups, cyber-hostile activities, global threats of terrorism, religious extremism and so forth." Dr. Al-Zayani said.
The Secretary-General added that the two main current challenges we have to address are the Palestinian conflict and the Iranian issue, noting that they have caused many current tensions. He also pointed out that the failure to reach a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian conflict is what feeds the activities of Iran and other players in spreading terrorism and extremism in the region and beyond, calling for the need to coordinate all our efforts and diplomacy towards reaching a solution to the Palestinian conflict.
The Secretary-General said that the best way to achieve momentum in the face of individual challenges is to develop a long-term vision that connects all our future plans. He said that this vision is ambitious but simple at the same time, and it is about creating a sustainable, secure and prosperous Middle East.
The Secretary-General expressed his believe that the interests can be coordinated, and reach compromises, achieve cooperation and provide benefits to the great powers and the countries of the region through mutual interdependence. He noted that some countries in North Africa and the Middle East could be convinced of the value, importance and necessity of cooperation, rather than the constant pursuit of a narrow national interest.
"This very serious challenge requires our imagination, flexibility, political will and cautious compromise, as well as balancing the financial costs against long-term returns, meaning the balance between the trillions spent on conflicts and the resulting misery, and the benefits that will be achieved for the sake of all." Dr. Al-Zayani added.
The Secretary-General said that like-minded countries should develop a long-term vision and a conceptual implementation plan, and then communicate with interested parties, to become a cohesive unit, whose main goal is to achieve stability, peace and prosperity through interdependence, noting that it can attract skeptics and adversaries through an attractive and tempting goal, so that those who do not wish to be part of this vision will lose and be marginalized.
Dr. Al-Zayani added that the vision of interdependence will not succeed without incentives and financial support. Therefore, more parties in the region should be urged to recognize the economic benefits of cooperation rather than confrontation, and start engaging foreign powers in promoting this mutual interdependence financially.
The Secretary-General noted that recent efforts, including the "Peace to Prosperity" workshop held in the Kingdom of Bahrain can be seen as the nucleus of the new Middle East Marshall Plan, which attracts significant investments from the region and beyond to develop and expand the infrastructure, cooperation and trade networks that form the cornerstone of true interdependence. He pointed out that such steps can only be fruitful in the context of a comprehensive and sustainable political settlement, because interdependence cannot be built in a vacuum; at least it requires resolving the political issues in a fair and sustainable manner.
The Secretary-General believes that the interests of all foreign powers will move towards achieving this vision because of the connection between regional stability and global stability, as regional prosperity fosters global growth. He pointed out that these foreign powers can help by investing in a new era, optimistic about their support for institutions and networks by being the sponsors of the benefits that will follow, and encouraging all concerned parties to move hard and honest towards this goal. Thus, the parties that choose not to participate will be the only losers.