GCC to study union proposal

Filed on May 15, 2012
GCC to study union proposal

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders agreed on Monday to allow more time for further discussions over a Saudi proposal to turn the six-nation council into a union likely to start with the kingdom and Bahrain.

The leaders who met in Riyadh have instructed their foreign ministers to “continue studying the report of the special commission”, said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal.

GCC to study union proposal (/assets/oldimages/gcc-140512.jpg)Shaikh Mohammed with Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Saeed, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the GCC Summit in Riyadh on Monday. — Wam

The ministers are expected to put forward their recommendations to an “extraordinary summit to be held in Riyadh”, he said without setting a time frame. He said that the reason behind the apparent decision to put the proposal on the back burner was due to the “high importance of the matter and keenness to study it comprehensively”. But the much anticipated union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain has been criticised by legislators in Iran and main opposition group in Bahrain.

Prince Saud asked Tehran to keep out of Saudi-Bahraini affairs. “Iran has nothing to do with what happens between the two countries, even if it develops into a unity,” he told reporters.

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain said upon arrival in Riyadh that the proposed Gulf union is a “response to changes and challenges that face us on international and regional fronts”.

‘The GCC leaders also discussed the political developments in the region, including the recent Iranian provocative acts in the three occupied UAE islands. They also reviewed the developments in Syria in light of the escalating killings in addition to the current efforts of the joint envoy of the Arab League and the United Nations. The GCC leaders also addressed a number of issues relating to the march of GCC joint action, and discussed means of following-up the implementation of related decisions,’ Prince Saud Al-Faisal said.

The UAE delegation to the summit was led by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The members of the delegation included Lt-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Dr Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State, and senior officials.

On arrival at Riyadh Airbase, Shaikh Mohammed was received by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulazaiz of Saudi Arabia; Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Defence; Dr Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the GCC, and senior Saudi officials. King Abdullah and Shaikh Mohammed discussed matters relating to bilateral relations.

The summit was also atttended by the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah; His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain; the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Saeed.

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