Aug 02 2012
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Gulf union to be discussed in September
Thursday, Aug 02, 2012
Manama: A proposal to turn the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into a Gulf union will be reviewed by the alliance foreign ministers in September.
The commission tasked with studying the initiative has completed its work and submitted it to the council of foreign ministers, Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the GCC secretary-general, has said, the Bahraini Arabic daily Al Ayam reported on Thursday.
“The initiative to move to a Gulf Union will be discussed by the GCC foreign ministers when they convene next month,” he said.
The six member states of the Council founded in 1981 in Abu Dhabi have reportedly agreed on the move, but had different views on the pace.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were openly enthusiastic about it, while other members said that more time was needed to achieve the transition.
In May, enthusiasm was so high in Manama and Riyadh that the idea of a first track between them would be launched, possibly with Doha being part of it, while the other capitals would join at a later stage.
However, the GCC leaders at their annual advisory summit in Riyadh said that more time was needed and that the initiative would be taken by the council of foreign ministers.
Bahraini officials have repeatedly said that they were optimistic about the announcement of the union, at least on its first track, before or at the rotating GCC summit to be held in Manama in December.
Pro-Gulf union supporters envisage close political, military and economic coordination and the setting up of a new decision-making body that would replace the GCC Secretariat and would be modelled after the European Union.
By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.
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