GCC ministers discuss economy ahead of summit

Updated 24 December 2012
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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.


Turkish President Erdogan begins speech on Jamal Khashoggi case

Updated 2 min 20 sec ago
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Turkish President Erdogan begins speech on Jamal Khashoggi case

DUBAI: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech to parliament on Tuesday regarding the Turkish account of the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that he does not doubt King Salman’s sincerity in the matter.
Erdogan said that the Turkish authorities couldn’t initially go into the Saudi consulate due to diplomatic immunity, and suggested that Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated and planned.
The Turkish president expressed desire to conduct a joint investigation with the Saudis, adding that they will continue trying to find facts.
Erdogan said that the Saudi authorities took an important step in revealing the crime happened, and that now they should reveal the names of those involved, suggesting that the 18 defendants be tried in Turkey.

(Developing)