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GCC ministers discuss economy ahead of summit

MANAMA: Foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states met in Bahrain’s capital on Sunday to discuss economic integration on the eve of the annual GCC summit, a diplomatic source said.
The meeting was held behind closed doors and focused on “the complementary nature of the six members,” whose overall GDP in 2011 amounted to 1.371 billion dollars, the source said.
The GCC states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia — have a joint population of around 46 million, the majority of whom are foreigners.
In 2003, they launched a symbolic customs union which has been beset with problems, failing to meet its target date of 2005, with the transition period systematically extended.
And a monetary union announced in 2009 with the aim of creating a common currency has also failed to materialize, with just four nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) signing up to it.
The two-day Manama summit, set to begin on Monday afternoon, will also discuss other regional issues including the more than 21-month conflict in Syria, relations with Iran and the situation in Yemen, sources said.

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