Greater unification of Gulf states in focus

Updated 31 August 2012

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.

Before and after satellite images show Beirut port decimated

Updated 6 min 16 sec ago

Before and after satellite images show Beirut port decimated

  • The images from Maxar e shows a huge crater now filled with sea water next to a grain silo building
  • A passenger ship can be seen capsized by the blast

 LONDON: High-resolution sateliite images have realed the scale of destruction wrought upon Lebanon's main port after twin explosions killed more than 100 people.

The images were taken from satellites belonging to US-based imaging company Maxar.

The after image shows a huge crater now filled with sea water next to a grain silo building which somehow wasn't completely flattened.

Every other warehouse in the image has been flattened, with just the steel skeletons remaining. Across the other side of the dock, a passenger ship, the Orient Queen, has been blown on to its side by the blast, while other vessels appear destroyed.

Lebanese officials say 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port without safety measure. Reuters reported that a fire started at one warehouse before it spread to abother storing the chemical, which is used in fertilizer and bombs. 

Videos showed a fire and an initial explosion before the massive second explosion sent a shockwave across the city, killing scores, wounding thousands and destroying and damaging buildings.

The blast was felt in Cyprus almost 200 kilometers away. Sim Tack, an analyst and weapons expert at the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, said based on the crater and glass windows being blown out a distance away, the warehouse exploded with the force equivalent to detonating at least 2.2 kilotons of TNT.

*With agencies