Riyadh, The Gulf Observer: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday reiterated the Kingdom’s support for efforts to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause, in his opening speech at the first Gulf Cooperation Council-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Riyadh.
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.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn will lead the association’s delegation to the summit which will conclude with the issuing of a joint statement on its outcomes and cooperation plans for 2024 to 2028.
For Southeast Asian leaders, the meeting offers an opportunity to seek assistance from Gulf states on issues related to energy security.
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.