Summit to Discuss Yemen’s Inclusion

MUSCAT - The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders will discuss Yemen’s inclusion as a full member of the council, but it is unlikely that any firm decision will be made before the summit closes tomorrow.

By Saleh Al Shaibany

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Published: Wed 31 Dec 2008, 12:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:17 PM

The 2001 summit in Muscat endorsed the idea of Yemen joining several of the GCC organisations but not as a full member. At the Abu Dhabi summit in December 2005, the strategic resolution of starting the process of Yemen’s integration to the bloc by 2015 was passed.The decision to support development and infrastructure projects in Yemen was also taken.

But Yemen would want to be a part of the GCC bloc sooner than 2015 to enjoy the privilege of the oil windfall economies of its richer neighbours.

“That is most unlikely.Yemen is a poor country and GCC states know the country will be an economic burden to let Yemen in so soon with its infrastructure not yet developed in the same standard like the Gulf countries,” Ali Saif Al Hudaify, a political analyst based in Muscat told Khaleej Times. He said there is a need to formulate a clear vision to define the mechanism of Yemen’s full admission to the Gulf Cooperation. Yemen-GCC relations are cordial, and there are no political, cultural or social obstacles impeding Yemen’s entry into the six-member bloc.In fact, that there are common denominators that provide an impetus to Yemen’s inclusion.

“However, Yemen as part of the GCC is important in establishing a good base for regional security and warned that excluding it would be a strategic error, particularly now Iraq has shed its strategic status.

But Yemen needs an economic turnaround, especially improving the standard of living of the people should be the first step in the programme to help Yemen qualify as a GCC member,” he added.

The historic and cultural relations between Yemen and GCC countries may work well for Yemen but will not push forward its inclusion before 2015. Several of the leaders of the GCC since 2001 are not in power anymore and that may change things around.

He said that settling border disputes between Yemen and its neighboring GCC countries represent an important base for enhancing relations between the two sides as well as the need for developing Yemen’s capability to face internal crises.


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