Gulf Arab summit calls for financial, monetary unity by 2025
Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 40th Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.- Reuters
Dubai - The Qatar prime minister's presence follows an intensification of efforts to resolve a row which dented the GCC alliance amid growing Iran tensions.
The GCC summit on Tuesday stressed the need to boost military and security cooperation and pledged to create a financial and monetary bloc by 2025.
Addressing the 40th Supreme Council meeting, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, called for regional unity to confront Iran and secure energy supplies and maritime channels.
King Salman, who accorded Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani a traditional welcome earlier in the day, said the GCC had managed to overcome many crises that the region has faced.
The Qatar prime minister's presence follows an intensification of efforts to resolve a row which dented the GCC alliance amid growing Iran tensions.
The meeting was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain; His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait; Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said; and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah.
Asked about mediation efforts, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said they were ongoing but better conducted away from the spotlight.
A senior regional official said Kuwait recently was working "extremely hard to come up with reconciliation, supported by the United States".
After the communique was read out, Sheikh Sabah commended the call for unity.
Asked about Lebanon, Prince Faisal said the Mediterranean state's stability was important to Saudi Arabia.
He said he would not "pre-judge" Riyadh's actions at an international conference in France on Wednesday and called to support Lebanon as it grapples with a political impasse and the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The communique, read by GCC General Secretary Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, called for finalising legislation for financial and monetary unity by 2025. It also called for boosting military and security cooperation to maintain regional security.
At a preparatory meeting on Monday, Gulf foreign ministers approved the nomination of former Kuwaiti finance minister Nayef Al Hajraf as the next secretary-general of the GCC.
His term will begin in April 2020 following the end of Al Zayani's term.