RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Thursday 20 December 2012
Last update 20 December 2012 12:29 am
The foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold a meeting on Saturday to review the arrangements made for the GCC summit and shortlist the topics that will be tabled for discussions before the heads of Gulf states on Dec. 24.
“The meeting of foreign ministers will be held in Bahrain a day before the GCC summit begins,” said GCC Secretary-General Abdullateef Al-Zayani Wednesday in Riyadh.
Al-Zayani said the agenda would include many GCC-related issues besides the current political issues of regional importance. “The GCC ministerial council will finalize the agenda. There is an agreement on all issues of the draft agenda. The most notable among them are the economic issues, such as economic cooperation and closer security cooperation,” said Al-Zayani. The ministerial council meeting will also discuss political, economic, social, environmental, educational and health issues.
The meeting will review the strategic talks that were initiated recently between the GCC and a number of countries. The meeting will tackle the strategic partnership files of Morocco and Jordan, as well as the situation in Iran, Syria, Yemen and the latest developments in both Palestine and Iraq. Al-Zayani pointed out that political issues directly related to the GCC would be discussed at the summit, but subjects related to the Arab world would be handled by the Arab League.
Syria, Iran and Yemen will be among the political topics to be taken up for discussions on priority basis by the foreign ministers and then by the GCC heads of state on Dec. 24. “The GCC countries have been exerting effort to ensure peace and security in Syria, and they are also very keen on implementing the Yemen deal,” said Al-Zayani, adding that Syria is a major problem hampering all effort for regional peace and security.
Al-Zayani called on the GCC states to re-evaluate their economic, political and military interests and set up “new strategies” to meet the political, security and economic challenges and ensure a better future for GCC citizens. “Amid the latest regional and international developments, GCC states are required, now more than ever, to adopt new strategies to face regional challenges and promote the GCC framework of closer cooperation politically, economically and socially,” he stressed.
Referring to the meeting of the foreign ministers, Al-Zayani said the ministers would discuss the entry of Jordan and Morocco as members into the GCC. Moroccan King Mohammed VI visited all GCC countries this year to further reinforce ties with the GCC bloc in different fields. The accession of Morocco and Jordan will be an important topic that will be recommended by the foreign ministers to the GCC Supreme Council for discussion.
He pointed out that the GCC and Morocco had approved a GCC-Moroccan joint action plan (2012-2017) to promote bilateral cooperation in different fields. The GCC and Jordan have also adopted an action plan for cooperation that will conclude in 2017. The Gulf bloc and the two countries have formed special task teams for cooperation in economy, agriculture, food security, transportation, environment and telecommunications, among other sectors.
Referring to the action plan for Morocco and Jordan that has been agreed by the GCC, Al-Zayani said the Gulf leaders were “keen on seeing the action plan effectively implemented.” The GCC last year created a fund to support development plans under which the GCC will allocate $ 5 billion to Jordan and Morocco each during the next five years to implement development projects. This is in addition to different projects financed by individual Gulf countries in Morocco and Jordan.
Meanwhile, Bahrain announced it had launched a radio station to cover the GCC summit. The GCC Voice Radio will broadcast programs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. until Dec. 23, but will have a larger slot thereafter broadcasting from 1 to 5 p.m. until Dec. 26. The audience will be allowed to interact with the radio through a Twitter account. The radio will host leading GCC political, social, cultural and sport personalities who will discuss the issues on the agenda of the 33rd GCC summit.
Radio presenters and media crews from GCC member countries and the GCC General Secretariat will be presenting programs on the radio station that will broadcast on the 98.4 FM frequency, the head of Bahrain Radio, Younus Salman, said in a report published today. Manama has also made elaborate arrangements for newsmen from foreign media channels who will be arriving in Bahrain next week to cover the summit.