The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council strongly condemned Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria and their extreme interpretation of Islam as it opened a meeting in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
“We denounce vehemently the practices of those who use Islam as a pretext to kill and displace en masse Iraqis and Syrians,” Kuwait Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said in Jeddah.
He added that the regional body, consisting of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman supported a UN Security Council resolution earlier this month aimed at weakening the jihadists.
IS has declared an Islamic “caliphate” in large swathes of territory under its control in Iraq and Syria.
The resolution in mid-August called “on all member states to take national measures to suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters”, and threatens sanctions against anyone involved in their recruitment.
The minister from Kuwait, which holds the rotating GCC’s presidency, also said the body welcomed a ceasefire on Tuesday that ended a deadly 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Al-Sabah called for “international protection for the Palestinian people” and a lifting of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as well as reconstruction in the devastated territory.
He also made a plea for the resumption of a lasting peace settlement to “establish a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital based on the 1967 borders”.
Al-Sabah said the GCC should overcome its internal differences, a reference to Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama earlier this year withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
They accuse Qatar of interfering in their affairs by supporting the Islamist movement.