Jordan, Morocco to join GCC

(Staff Reporter)
Filed on May 11, 2011

DUBAI - Just 15 days ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Councilís historic 30th anniversary celebrations, the six-nation regional grouping on Tuesday welcomed membership bids by the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco.

“Leaders of the GCC welcomed the request of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to join the council and instructed the foreign minister to enter into negotiations to complete the procedures,” GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al Zayani said in Riyadh. He said the same procedure would be followed with Morocco.

Al Zayani was speaking after the 13th Consultative Summit of the leader of the GCC, which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The Arabian Peninsula republic of Yemen has limited observer status in the grouping.

The leaders met to discuss, among other things, their tense relations with Iran, a stalled transition plan in Yemen and the popular uprisings shaking the Arab world, an official said.

At the meeting, the GCC urged all sides in Yemen to sign the transition deal aimed at ending months of anti-government unrest in the impoverished nation.

“The council urged the all parties in Yemen to sign the agreement which is the best way out of the crisis and spare the country further political division and deterioration of security,” the bloc’s leaders said in a joint statement.

GCC heads of state had discussed the bloc’s mediation efforts in Yemen which stalled in the face of veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s refusal to sign up to proposals which would require him to stand down within a month rather than serving out his term until 2013 as he insists.

Officials had earlier said the summit was also scheduled to discuss their March decision to create a development fund of $20 billion to help Bahrain and Oman.

The UAE delegation to the summit was headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He was earlier received at the Royal Hall of the King Khalid Air Base in Riyadh by the Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, other members of the royal family, ministers and senior military and civilian officials.

Charge d’Affaires at the UAE Embassy in Riyadh Ahmed Mohammed Bushuwirib and other members of the diplomatic mission were also present.

Shaikh Mohammed was accompanied by a high-level team comprising Lt-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs ; Dr Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; and senior officials.

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