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GCC foreign ministers to meet in Manama

posted Oct 2, 2012, 3:03 AM by Syrian Transition
02 Oct 2012 (GulfNews) Developments in Iran, Syria and Palestine will top the talks of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers when they meet in Manama next month.

The situation in Iraq will also be on the agenda of the meeting of the six countries as they prepare for the GCC summit to be hosted by the Bahraini capital in late December.

“The GCC meeting next month will also review agreements in the areas of health, education and economy,” Mushari Al Naim, the head of International Relations at the Riyadh-headquartered GCC, said, quoted by Saudi Arabic daily Al Sharq.

The official did not mention whether the GCC foreign ministers or leaders would discuss the proposal made last year by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to fellow GCC states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE to move the alliance from the phase of cooperation to a Gulf union within a single entity.

The six member states of the Council founded in 1981 in Abu Dhabi reportedly agreed on the move, but held different views on the pace at which such a transition should come about.

An ad-hoc commission, made up of 12 members, two from each member country, was set up to look into ways to implement the proposal and its report was submitted to the Council.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were openly enthusiastic about it, while other members said that more time was needed to achieve the transition. Enthusiasm for the move was so high in Manama and Riyadh that it gave rise to the thinking that the two countries should jointly work to speed up the initiative with an initial core of the two capitals and possibly with Doha being part of it, while the other capitals will join in at a later stage.

However, the GCC leaders at their annual advisory summit in Riyadh in May said that more time was needed and that the initiative would be taken up by the council of foreign ministers.

In September, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, said that Manama was getting ready to host the GCC summit.

“We are working around-the-clock to be ready for the summit in Manama,” Shaikh Khalid said. “The leaders’ meeting will build on the achievements accomplished at each of the past summits. The Manama summit will continue the trend of achievements. When you look at the larger picture, you see that the GCC has never regressed and that it has always moved forward. Today’s GCC is different from what it was 10 or 20 years ago,” he said.

Last month, Former Kuwaiti lawmaker Osama Al Munawer has made a stirring plea for the GCC to appoint a foreign minister to coordinate their positions on a spectrum of issues.

“The GCC is in dire need of creating a post of foreign minister,” Al Munawer, a member of the parliament elected in February and dissolved in June wrote on his Twitter account. “The current conditions require the unification of all efforts and decisions. This is a step forward towards the Gulf Union.”