GCC ministers to discuss counter-terrorism centre

ABU DHABI — GCC interior ministers will meet here next week to discuss urgent security issues including a proposal to set up an international counter-terrorism centre, an official source told Khaleej Times.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Fri 19 May 2006, 1:38 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

In their consultative meeting at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on May 23, the ministers will discuss the mechanism to set up the centre proposed during the 8th GCC meeting. A consultative meeting of the GCC leaders was held in Riyadh last week.

The source said the GCC interior ministers are likely to discuss other issues such as a move to issue a unified GCC identity card and a unified passport system to ease movement of GCC citizens.

The proposed centre will develop mechanisms to exchange information and experiences between countries in combating terrorism, link similar centres and provide a base for information to complement the speed of utilising.

It will also organise the exchange of security and intelligence information promptly between specialised bodies via security channels.

In addition to combating terrorism, discussions during the one-day gathering tackled developments in Iran and Iraq, according to Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

He said after last week's meeting, the summit had discussed ways and means of confronting terrorism.

Describing terrorism as an "issue that affects the region directly," the minister said the leaders welcomed Bahrain's efforts to establish this international intelligence-sharing centre to combat terrorism.

He said the GCC countries were worried about the Iranian nuclear programme. "The Iranian nuclear programme is worrisome not only for us, but for the entire world," he said, urging Teheran to act with more "transparency".

GCC countries have repeatedly called for making the Middle East region free of nuclear and weapons of mass destruction

Terrorism is always high on the GCC Interior Ministers meetings. During their last meeting in Manama last year, the ministers discussed the implementation of anti-terror measures for member states. They shared their views on means of activating the mechanisms of the GCC anti-terrorism agreement signed in 2004, with the aim of confronting security threats facing the region.

The meeting also covered other issues relating to joint action between GCC security bodies on civil defence, traffic and drug control.

A top US military official on Wednesday called upon countries in the GCC region to combine forces to prevent premeditated terror attacks and respond to any disaster regardless of its nature or cause.

Vice-Admiral David Nichols of the US Navy, in his speech at the opening of the Eagle Resolve-2006 seminar held at the Ritz-Carlton Doha, said: "We must all work together towards preventing premeditated attacks or responding to any disaster that occurs, no matter what kind it is and who or what caused it."

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