GCC economic union under spotlight at Manama summit



P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Published — Monday 24 December 2012

Last update 24 December 2012 9:06 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

 

 

JEDDAH: GCC leaders will assemble in Manama today for a landmark summit to discuss major regional and international issues and strengthen economic and military cooperation among the six-member group.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal expressed concerns over Iran’s interference in GCC’s internal affairs, accusing Tehran of “taking advantage of the situation to instigate sedition.”

He hoped the summit would be successful in taking important decisions. “Every GCC summit has something new, and we seek accomplishing great things during this summit,” the Saudi minister said.

Prince Saud was talking to reporters after attending a GCC foreign ministers meeting in Manama yesterday to finalize the summit’s agenda.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa told Qatari daily Al-Sharq that the summit would cover several areas including military cooperation, environmental protection and accelerating the steps leading to economic unity.

“The situation in Syria will also be among the main topics,” the minister said. The GCC countries must complete all defensive and preventive measures against any threat, whether it was from military or environment, he pointed out.
The minister underlined the fact that economic integration would receive great attention and that the GCC countries must strive to form an integrated economic unit, which was the basis for the real unity in the future.
Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE met in Manama yesterday to finalize the summit’s agenda. Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal led the Saudi delegation to the meeting.
In a related development, Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa said the process of joint GCC cooperation is moving in the right direction toward further strengthened security and economic integration.
Speaking to Al-Bayan newspaper, he emphasized the need for stronger cooperation and integration among the GCC states in a way that would achieve mutual interests and benefits, especially in the security field.
"Our people are looking forward to more achievements, especially in light of ongoing regional and global developments "he said.
He went on to urge further efforts aimed at greater efficiency to the common business strategy of the GCC countries in light of regional and international challenges meant to consequently meet aspirations of the peoples of the region and build on the GCC's political, economic and social achievements.
He called the GCC leaders to develop new ideas that would accelerate progress toward meeting common goals and a better future for the region.
“We are in a new era where the world is being controlled by conflicting and clear strategic interests, in light of which it has become binding for the GCC to act more effectively as a unified entity,” the prime minister said.
“What concerns us, first and foremost, is security and stability of the region and that we speak with one voice and we are a key player with respect to current affairs of the region. We also have to put multiple and stronger mechanisms to protect our interests and maintain the Gulf’s longstanding nature as secure and stable hub.”
Responding to a question on whether the Manama GCC Summit is going to witness the official birth of "Gulf Union", he said that initiative made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, calling for moving from the stage of "Cooperation" into "Union" had come to meet the GCC’s aspirations to strengthen its unity, which was, and still is, and will remain, the ultimate goal behind the establishment of this council.
Meanwhile, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Muhammad Al-Jasser highlighted the economic dimensions of GCC Union. “King Abdullah’s proposal to transform GCC into a union is essential in the light of regional and global developments and changes in order to protect GCC and make greater achievements,” the minister said.
He said an integrated GCC would be able to deal with global economic groups with greater strength and efficiency to protect the interests of member countries. He called the GCC states to establish joint investment projects and channeling their investments to member countries, especially in industry, housing and stock markets.
GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani said the Manama Summit would discuss all the current issues in the region, including the Syrian crisis, supporting the Syrian people, achieving their aspirations, supporting Yemen to get out of its crisis, and the Iranian interference.
“The summit will discuss a lot of issues to bolster joint defense and security,” the GCC chief said. The summit leaders will also take up issues such as water security and water connectivity between GCC states.
About the Iranian issue and the relation with Tehran, Al Zayani said the GCC rejects Iran’s occupation of the UAE islands and demands resolution of the issue in a peaceful manner. “We also reject Iranian interference in the internal affairs of any GCC state.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Employees of the Education Office in Al-Daer governorate, Jazan, where seven people were gunned down on Thursday are in a state of shock and perplexed as to what prompted the attacker — a teacher — to take such an extreme step.The teacher, id...
JEDDAH: The campaign to support Syrian refugees with all their needs is being carried out effectively, as per the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman....
RIYADH: The Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs has ordered the allocation of separate sections for female members of municipal councils.This was announced by Jedaie Al-Qahtani of the ministry. “This is in implementation of Clause 107 of the...
DAMMAM: The 9th Saudi Student Conference which is being held on Feb. 13-14 is sponsored by Umm Al-Qura University and hosted by the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. It was organized by the Scientific Society for Saudi Students in the...
RIYADH: Over the past 10 years, begging in the Kingdom has increased substantially, with the number of organized gangs of expatriate beggars increasing to 85 percent of the total number of beggars, according to Social Affairs Ministry Majed Al-Qassab...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health said it expects its blood donation drive will received 450,000 milliliters (ml) of blood when the Janadriyah festival ends on Feb. 19.Khalid Ibrahim Zobaie, who supervises the blood donation project, said the drive is i...
JEDDAH: The Shoura Council’s decision to reduce working hours in the private sector from 48 hours to 40 hours per week would result in additional operational costs in the sector due to 30 percent higher wages for expat workers, according to Mansour b...
MADINAH: Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman recently visited a number of ongoing developmental project sites in the Holy City, as part of his efforts to ensure that they meet the set standards and deadlines.During the visit, he said that all the s...
RIYADH: The National Guard Ministry is studying the possibility of having two countries as guests of honor each year instead of one at the Janadriyah festival for culture and heritage, the Kingdom’s most prestigious annual festival.This was revealed...
DAMMAM: The Pakistan International School in Alkhobar hosted their 49th annual prize distribution ceremony to honor outstanding students in the presence of Pakistani Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq and his wife, Nighat Manzoor.Haq appreciated the efforts o...
DAMMAM: The Weaam Association for Family Care in the Eastern Province has succeeded in addressing more than 700 cases of family disputes during the last one year.Abdulrahman Al-Khudair, Weaam’s director of public delations, said: “The association off...
JEDDAH: The Nakheel mall case has continued to grab the limelight, with a number of lawyers now offering their services to the girl who was roughed up by some Haia members in Riyadh. Some people also expressed, through social media, their support to...
RIYADH: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh inaugurated this week a campaign tosafeguard Saudi society against bad influences.“The campaign seeks to immunize society in the Kingdom from deviant ideas as well as utter lies and heresies that could...
RIYADH: A Filipino nurse who works at a clinic in Riyadh has been missing for a week, her colleagues has said.According to a co-worker at the clinic, the 43-year-old nurse from from Lamitan town in Basilan province, southern Philippines, wa...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Haj will put in place new measures for issuing Umrah visas for pilgrims from outside the country with the coordination of the Saudi embassies abroad, a local newspaper reported.The new measures will be implemented soon, given...

Stay Connected

Facebook