Historic GCC-ASEAN summit held in Riyadh 
The historic gathering marked a turning point in regional collaboration, setting the stage for a strategic partnership between the two influential blocs.

Historic GCC-ASEAN summit held in Riyadh 

Photo: AFP/Hamad Al-Kaabi
Eurasia 21/10/2023 12:46

The historic gathering marked a turning point in regional collaboration, setting the stage for a strategic partnership between the two influential blocs.

The maiden summit held by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brought together leaders and representatives from 16 Gulf and Asian nations in Riyadh on Friday to inaugurate a 2024-2028 joint action plan, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz stated that this plan “charts a clear roadmap for collective efforts to enhance cooperation and partnership in various domains, serving mutual interests.”

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, experts and researchers acknowledged that the GCC-ASEAN summit accelerated common economic and developmental convergence between the nations of both bodies. The policies of the participating nations have emphasized development and economics, along with the adoption of balanced political stances.

The GCC-ASEAN summit comes three months after a similar gathering that brought together GCC nations and Central Asian countries in Jeddah.

Leaders of countries participating in the #GCC-#ASEAN summit pose for a family photo as their summit kicks off in #Riyadh pic.twitter.com/CIOx5fM448

— Saudi Gazette (@Saudi_Gazette) October 20, 2023
Looking ahead, anticipation is already building for the next summit scheduled to take place in Malaysia in 2025. The agreement to rotate the summit's venue emphasizes the inclusivity and shared responsibility of both GCC and ASEAN member states in shaping the future of their strategic partnership, according to Zawya.

A joint statement issued at the end of the summit reflects a commitment to shared values and principles outlined in the United Nations Charter. The leaders affirmed their dedication to fostering peace, security, and prosperity, emphasizing adherence to international law, good neighborliness, and peaceful dispute resolution.

Key areas of cooperation were highlighted, including the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, maritime cooperation, connectivity, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and economic collaboration. The leaders recognized the importance of oceans and seas in driving regional growth, advocating for peace, stability, and maritime safety.

The leaders expressed a united front against transnational crime, cybercrime, counterterrorism, and extremism, underscoring the need for enhanced trade and investment flows. They encouraged public-private sector engagement and business-to-business relations, aiming for sustainable infrastructure, renewables, agriculture, healthcare, tourism, logistics, and digitalization.

Additionally, the leaders emphasized cooperation in economic partnership priorities such as regional market integration, sustainability, digital transformation, and inclusivity, with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The joint commitment extended to promoting dialogue among civilizations, advancing mutual understanding, and fostering respect for diversity. The leaders recognized the importance of cultural exchanges, heritage preservation, and promoting tourism initiatives.

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