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2-05-2012 - Gulfnews By Habib Toumi

GCC advisory summit to discuss experts' report on confederation

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) advisory summit next month will limit its discussion on the proposed confederation to a report by experts from the six member states.

"There will be no discussion of another matter," Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain's foreign minister, has said.

Reports had emerged in the Gulf that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would announce "a form of union" between them during the annual summit on May 14 in the Saudi capital.

According to the reports published on Wednesday and Thursday by Arab media and quoting "Gulf sources" it did not name, the form of the union is likely to be called the Arabian Gulf Union, a name that would allow other GCC members to join at their pace.

The union would be the first concretization of the call issued by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud in December when he said that the GCC countries should "move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity."

The sources said that the GCC with its current status was no longer able to face the security and political challenges and realities in the region. "There is a critical need for stronger political and security bonds between the members of the GCC," the sources reportedly said. The Gulf union would not eliminate the political character of the member states and the main missions of the union will be to protect the GCC from regional threats, bolster cooperation and boost economic integration, the sources said.

Reaching common robust grounds that will address social and economic problems is another major objective of the union, they said. The sources ruled out that the Bahrain-Saudi Arabia step would be seen as a new axis within the GCC. The GCC was established in Abu Dhabi in 1981.


Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights