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EU-GCC Forum to explore dialogue, cooperation

RIYADH: The EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Forum on the achievements of EU integration, and lessons learned from it, will be held in Riyadh on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC).
EU Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso on Monday said a program has been lined up for Wednesday at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.
The event will begin with a welcome address by Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, GCC assistant secretary-general for political negotiations.
This will be followed by brief speeches from ambassadors of countries that founded the EU, such as Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France. D’Urso will also address the gathering. Following the speeches, a documentary will be screened to highlight the history of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.
D’Urso said GCC member countries are ideal partners for EU members due to their stability and economic viability. “We would like to have person-to-person contact with the GCC-EU member countries through mutual understanding,” he said, adding that the EU also cooperates with the GCC in security affairs. He expressed hoped that the long-awaited GCC-EU Free-Trade Agreement will soon come into force.
In addition to GCC members, he said the EU is interested in the affairs of neighboring countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya.
Under Vision 2030, the envoy said Saudi Arabia is engaged in ambitious reforms to diversify its economy and improve education and social development. These reforms, he added, will also have a positive effect on the countries of the region.
He said thousands of Saudis study in the EU and understand its peoples well, but there is a need for more people-to-people dialogue.
“Europe understands better the transformation process in the Kingdom, and we hope to strengthen relations with key government agencies such as the Shoura Council and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA),” D’Urso said.

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