The summit, which was presided over by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), sought to address security and development-related issues as well as their effects on less developed economies.
At least $10 billion has been allocated to address regional and global food security challenges during a high profile meeting in Saudi Arabia attended by leaders of the GCC+3—Jordan, Iraq and Egypt—as well as US President Joe Biden.
The funds will be contributed by the Arab Coordination Group (ACG), which consists of ten Arab and national specialised financial development institutions, a White House statement said.
GCC nations also pledged $100 million in donations to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which offers life-saving medical care to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
Chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the summit in Jeddah aimed to tackle issues related to security and development, in addition to their impact on low economically developed countries.
The United States also declared $1 billion in new acute humanitarian aid and mid to long term food security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa region, the White House statement, released after the summit, said.
Some GCC partners announced that they intend to invest a total of $3 billion in initiatives that support the goals of the US Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), which includes funding initiatives that advance climate and energy security, digital connectivity, and the strength and diversity of global supply chains.
All in all, the leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to uphold regional security and stability, aid in de-escalation diplomacy, strengthen regional defence, security, and intelligence cooperation, and guarantee the safety and freedom of waterways.
“The leaders of the GCC member states welcomed President Biden’s affirmation of the United States’ commitment to its strategic partnership with GCC member states, and that it stands ready to work jointly with its partners in the GCC to deter and confront all external threats to their security, as well as against threats to vital waterways, especially the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab Al-Mandab,” the statement said.
The leaders reaffirmed their support for combating terrorism and all other activities that pose a threat to security and stability as well as for ensuring that the Arab Gulf region is free of all nuclear weapons.
They also stressed the importance of diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Leaders in attendance noted commitment to cooperate and coordinate between countries to strengthen defence and joint deterrence capabilities against the growing threat posed by the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles, as well as against the arming of terrorist militias and armed groups.
“The leaders discussed various ways to enhance their joint cooperation aimed at strengthening deterrence and the defence capabilities of GCC member states, as well as enhanced integration and interoperability in their air and missile defence and maritime security capabilities, and early warning systems and information sharing”.
The formation of Combined Task Force 153 and Task Force 59, which will improve joint defence coordination between the GCC member states and the US Central Command in order to better monitor maritime threats and improve naval defences was also discussed at the summit, noting this will be carried out using “the most recent technologies and systems.”
First post-blockade visit
US President Joe Biden made his first official visit to the Middle East this week, kicking off the tour in Tel Aviv before then moving on to the West Bank and then Saudi Arabia.
The trip ended with the GCC+3 summit in Jeddah.
The US president’s visit to the region comes two years after Biden took the reins in the White House – a stark contrast to his predecessor who made the same trip to Riyadh just four months after his inauguration.
In 2020, the GCC was still locked in the region’s worst political crisis in decades.
When Biden was inaugurated at Capitol hill, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt were locked in a diplomatic feud with Qatar that saw the quartet impose an illegal land, air and sea blockade of the latter.
Since January 2021, tensions have diffused and diplomatic relations restored.