Greater unification of Gulf states in focus

Updated 31 August 2012
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Greater unification of Gulf states in focus

Foreign Ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold an important meeting on Sunday to discuss greater unification of the Gulf States and to review all aspects of a plan to transform the GCC into a strong unified “Gulf Union.” This 124th ministerial meeting, to be held in Jeddah after the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, will also examine key regional issues.
Abdulatif Al-Zayani, GCC secretary general said: “The initiative to move from a GCC bloc to a Gulf Union will be discussed in detail by GCC foreign ministers.”
Gulf States are already tied through unified policies, militarily, politically and economically under the mandate of the GCC Charter.
Al-Zayani said, “Unification is meant to empower GCC bloc countries and empower members to come to the aid of one another in times of threat,” he said.
A GCC commission in December last year to discuss the initiative completed its review and submitted comments and recommendations to GCC foreign ministers recently.
Al-Zayani said foreign ministers would discuss other regional and international concerns. The agenda will include discussion on the situation in Yemen, Syria and Iran and a review of reports filed by ministerial committees for GCC joint action.
“There is an urgent need to boost cooperation between member states in areas of politics, defense and economy, for the sake of prosperity and for collective security,” he said.


Dozens wounded as police break up Morocco teacher protest

Updated 37 min 33 sec ago
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Dozens wounded as police break up Morocco teacher protest

  • Teachers on temporary contracts launched a strike in March
  • The dispute concerns 55,000 teachers recruited since 2016 on fixed-term contracts

RABAT: Over 70 demonstrators were left wounded Thursday after Moroccan police used water cannon to disperse a rally in the capital by thousands of contract teachers protesting over their employment terms.
Teachers chanting “Social justice!” and “No to dismantling public schools!” attempted to camp out overnight in front of parliament in central Rabat to press their demands, but police broke up their rally.
The public-sector teachers, mostly wearing white coats, came from several cities around the country after a meeting with the education ministry was canceled on Tuesday.
Organizers of the event later said over 70 teachers were hospitalized, with varying injuries during the protest, with many beaten by batons.
Teachers on temporary contracts launched a strike in March and have held major demonstrations to press their demand for permanent employment arrangements to improve their conditions, especially over retirement.
After a first meeting with the education ministry in mid-April, representatives of the teachers suspended their strike.
But the education ministry Tuesday accused some teachers of not respecting that commitment and said it would not continue the dialogue until they resumed work.
For their part, the teachers say the ministry does not want to grant their main demand: to be granted civil servant status along with the job security that affords.
The dispute concerns 55,000 teachers recruited since 2016 on fixed-term contracts.
Teachers on temporary contracts enjoy the same salaries as their permanent colleagues — 5,000 dirhams ($520) a month — but unlike them, do not have access to a pension fund and other benefits.