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5-06-2012 - Gulfnews

Gulf union high on agenda in GCC ministerial talks

A report on the proposal to form a Gulf union will figure high on the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers' meeting on Tuesday, the GCC secretary-general has said.

The meeting, the first to be held since last month's GCC consultative summit in Riyadh, will also review reports on strategic issues and the negotiations between the GCC states and economic blocs, Abdul Lateef Al Zayani said.

The latest regional, Arab and international developments will also be discussed by the ministers at the Red Coast resort of Jeddah, he said.

"This meeting holds a special significance because it will be the first to be held following the advisory summit and its recommendations," Al Zayani said in a statement yesterday.

"It will also convene at a time of rapid regional and international developments and fast-paced events."

The GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been looking into a proposal by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to turn their alliance set up in 1981 into a union.

"I ask today that we move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity," the Saudi monarch told fellow GCC leaders at the opening of the annual GCC summit in Riyadh in December.

"You must realise that our security and stability are threatened and we need to live up to our responsibilities. Our summit opens in the shadow of challenges that require vigilance and a united stance," he said.

An adhoc commission of representatives from each of the six member states was formed to look into the proposal and submit recommendations.

 

Initial core

Reports emerged in April and May about Bahrain and Saudi Arabia agreeing to move ahead with the union, even if it meant setting an initial core of two or three states.

However, the GCC leaders at the advisory summit said the union issue would be postponed to allow for further study by the commission to present recommendations at an extraordinary summit.

No date for the summit was mentioned, but speculations were particularly rife in Bahrain that it would be held before the next regular summit scheduled for December in Manama.

 

Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights