GCC Summit to Discuss Closer Union

Gulf Times14.05.2012 KSA
GCC Summit to Discuss Closer Union

GCC Summit to Discuss Closer Union

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Gulf leaders will discuss a proposal for a closer political union among them that could begin with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, a Bahraini Minister said.

“The idea of a Gulf union will be on the agenda of the summit in Riyadh” today, said Minister of State of Information Samira Rajab.

“This union could start with two or three” members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, she told AFP, adding that the proposal for a Gulf union put forward by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz was “backed by Bahrain”.

A statement, issued by GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani, also said today’s meeting would begin with discussions over a union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

On Friday, a top Gulf official who requested not to be named had said Gulf leaders would “discuss the idea of a union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain”.

The GCC, which was formed in 1981, also includes Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
Rajab declined to elaborate on the nature of the proposed union, saying only that it could follow the “European Union model”.

“In Bahrain, we support setting up a Gulf union to protect us from the threats facing the region on the political, economic, security and military fronts,” she said.

King Abdullah told his fellow Gulf leaders in December that the GCC should move from the “phase of co-operation to a phase of union within a single entity”.

A joint committee comprising 3representatives of each member state is tasked with thinking the proposal through and should present its findings to tomorrow’s summit.

Bahrain Interior Minister Lt. General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, during a meeting of GCC Interior Ministers early this month in Saudi Arabia, highlighted the importance of working towards the union. He described the move as inevitable amid mounting regional and international challenges.

The GCC had made some progress in building a customs union - a first step towards economic integration.

In March 2011, GCC troops arrived in Bahrain to help local Security Forces quell anti-government protests. They left after three months.


Source: Gulf Times; AFP



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