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UK-GCC relationship to be strengthened across all fields: Foreign Office

UK-GCC relationship to be strengthened across all fields: Foreign Office

London: Foreign Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council and the UK have announced that the UK-GCC relationship would "be strengthened across all fields.

In a meeting held on Monday, the ministers noted that the UK-GCC relationship is essential in promoting peace, security, stability, and economic growth in the Middle East region and beyond.

The discussions took place at the 17th-century mansion in Chevening, Kent, where Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, foreign ministers of the GCC and its Secretary General highlighted that the "re-energised UK-GCC partnership" would help keep their citizens safe and generate significant business opportunities.

During the meeting, the ministers also agreed on much closer co-operation on trade, cyber security and green infrastructure investment into low and middle-income countries.

The countries will also work together to boost "clean, reliable, honest infrastructure financing into the developing world," the Foreign Office said in a detailed joint communique.

The countries will also begin substantive talks on a free-trade agreement in the new year, it was announced after the Gulf's foreign ministers meet.

Currently, the UK and the GCC already cooperate closely in a wide range of areas including political dialogue, security, foreign policy, trade and investment, and development.

The UK and GCC member states emphasised the importance of enhancing people-to-people links, which are an essential element in promoting understanding between their peoples, and a key driver of innovation, business opportunities, and cultural and educational exchange.

The UK and GCC member states underlined their commitment to work together to identify bilateral opportunities for joint investment in infrastructure and clean technology in the developing world.

As a first step, they committed to develop mechanisms for strong partnerships on these issues and work together to develop a pipeline of potential joint investment projects.

The foreign ministers also welcomed the ambitious five-year strategy and enlarged remit of British Investment International (BII), the UK's development finance institution.

BII will play a central role in the UK government's offer to help developing and emerging countries meet their significant financing needs for infrastructure and enterprise.

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