Gulf rail is coming: GCC chief

The 2,200 km. railway network, planned to link the GCC states from Muscat - capital of Oman, to Kuwait city, is already well underway

Image used for illustrative purpose. The way forward railway

Image used for illustrative purpose. The way forward railway

KUWAIT - GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani said Monday the 2,200 km. railway network, planned to link the GCC states from Muscat - capital of Oman, to Kuwait city, is already well underway.

"The ambitious project will have a far-reaching impact on socio-economic development in the Gulf region," he said at the opening ceremony of the GCC Days forum.

The forum is held under auspices and in the presence of Kuwait's Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri.

On the achievements made by the GCC over the last 37 years, Dr. Al-Zayani said the GCC has made headway in its drive to achieve comprehensive economic unity among its member states.

"The endorsement of the GCC economic treaty in 1981 and its amended version in 2001 is a step forward towards the realization of the GCC citizenship, the GCC common market, the GCC customs union, the GCC monetary union and the GCC power grid," he said.

The aggregate GDP of the GCC states hit USD 1.5 trillion in 2017 with exports and imports amounting to USD 536 billion and USD 450 billion, respectively, Dr. Al-Zayani pointed out.

Regarding the economic aspect of the GCC citizenship, he said 27 million citizens travelled among the GCC states in just one year and 23,000 citizens owned real property in GCC countries other than theirs.

"Nearly 112,000 businesspeople from the GCC states got licenses to do business while 445,000 investors owned equities in companies in countries other than theirs, which signals the resilience of the GCC economies.

"The ratings of GCC states advanced remarkably on the global indices of human development, economic competitiveness, employment and investment atmosphere," he went on.

The GCC, determined to continue its drive for economic integration, set up 30 specialized agencies in various fields, such as the Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), the Riyadh-based Gulf Monetary Council (GMC) and the Doha-based Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC).

"The GCC leaders share the resolve to institutionalize the economic unity, so they agreed to establish the Gulf organization for economic and development affairs and the economic arbitration authority," Dr. Al-Zayani noted.

The GCC states worked together to codify their national legislations and their legislatures were able to pass 110 guidelines and 44 common laws.

The GCC was able to build strategic partnerships with regional blocs and assert itself as an influential global organization held in high esteem worldwide, he stated.

On the GCC joint defense agreement, he said the armed forces of the GCC states showed commitment to the deal of 2,000 and stepped up their efforts to protect the security of the Gulf countries.

The GCC states set up the Peninsula Shield, the joint military command, the joint maritime operations center and the marine taskforce 81, and started activating the joint air and air defense center, he revealed.

As for the security cooperation, Dr. Al-Zayani said the GCC states approved a security agreement that was updated in 2012 and launched the Doha-based joint criminal information center, the Abu-Dhabi-based Gulf police organization, and the Kuwait-based emergency response center.

The GCC chief extolled His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the current chair of the GCC Supreme Council, for his limitless efforts to continue the march of the GCC towards joint action and integration in collaboration with other GCC leaders. (pickup previous)

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