GCC economic union under spotlight at Manama summit

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Updated 24 December 2012

GCC economic union under spotlight at Manama summit



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.”

Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018

Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.