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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Gulf and ASEAN leaders have issued a statement calling all parties involved in the Gaza conflict to implement a permanent ceasefire, and condemned the attacks on civilians in the Palestinian enclave.
Summit leaders also called for much-needed delivery of humanitarian aid, relief supplies and other essential necessities and services to Gaza.
In their statement, the leaders urged parties to the conflict to protect civilians, to refrain from targeting them and to adhere to international humanitarian law, especially the principles and provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The statement all called for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages and civilian detainees, especially women, children, the sick and the elderly, and urged all parties to work towards reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The leaders of the two regional blocs also expressed their support to revive the Middle East peace process, and to resolve the conflict between Israel and its neighbors in accordance with international law.
The regional leaders also agreed on the Framework of Cooperation 2024-2028, aiming to further strengthen partnership and cooperation to realize the potential for growing cooperation between both sides.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier reiterated the Kingdom’s support for efforts to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause in his opening speech at the summit.
The crown prince also said that he was ‘saddened’ by the escalating violence in Gaza, for which innocent people were paying the price, and firmly rejected the targeting of civilians.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who led the 10-nation ASEAN this year, in his opening statement also called for an end in the violence in Gaza in accordance with international laws.
Crown Prince Mohammed also said that Saudi Arabia seeks to strengthen relations with ASEAN nations across all fields.
Although the two organizations established relations in 1990, the gathering will be their maiden summit with the aim of optimizing cooperation between the regional blocs.
The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE, while the ASEAN bloc is made up of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.
The value of trade between ASEAN nations currently stands at more than $110 billion.
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