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2-05-2012 - Gulfnews by Habib Toumi

Saudi Arabia renews call for greater GCC integration

The Gulf Cooperation Council needs to be fully integrated to be able to confront increasingly ominous regional and global challenges, Saudi Arabia said yesterday.


"Our main concern now is how to confront the current and next challenges and the impact of the political, social and economic developments on our nations," Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said.

The confrontation between Iran and the international community over its nuclear programme and its continuous provocation of the GCC states, the suffering of the Palestinian people, and the far-reaching political changes under the so-called Arab Spring required the GCC countries to contemplate the situation carefully and be steeled by a robust resolve, Prince Saud said.


Speaking at the start of a conference for young Gulf men and women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's deputy foreign minister Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz noted: "The GCC countries need to maintain their interests, territorial unity, safety, stability, social peace and prosperity."


New challenges


In his speech, Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, the GCC secretary-general, said that the conference was an outstanding step forward and that similar initiatives needed to be encouraged and consolidated.

"The GCC is more than 30 years old and will always remain a robust entity that cares about its citizens," he said. "However, the new political, security and military challenges, at the regional and international levels, as well as the insecurity in the Arab region and the changes in the regional and global forces of power demand that we look into developing the GCC. We need to reset the GCC priorities and strategic objectives to empower them to match the changes and events that we are witnessing today," he said.


Young men and women are using the two-day conference to highlight their vision of the future as they look into ideas and proposals from young men and women from across the Gulf countries on a call to move the six-member alliance towards a union. The conclave concludes today.


King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia had in December called on GCC states to step up their pursuit of a full-fledged union.


Youth focus


The GCC youth conference under the theme ‘GCC states: From cooperation to union' organised by the Diplomatic Studies Institute has pledged to tackle all aspects of the call from the viewpoint of young people. Papers at the conference include a study of the political and strategic dimensions of the Gulf union, besides the economic and labour market impact of such a move.



Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights