GCC meeting commences in Kuwait, Iran and proposed union on testy agenda
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) commenced their two-day summit in Kuwait City Tuesday, with contentious issues such as a Gulf Union, ties with Iran, and the Syrian conflict on the table for discussion, according to Agence France-Presse.
The foreign ministers from the six GCC member countries (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and Oman) finalized the agenda for the meeting Monday evening, with Riyadh's proposal to upgrade the GCC to a union on the top of the agenda.
While Bahrain has been KSA's main supporter for the proposed union, Oman has vehemently opposed Riyadh's plan, with Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi previously threatening that Muscat will pull out of the GCC entirely if a union is announced.
"Oman does not want to be a part of any measure than might be seen as directed against Iran," according to Emirati political analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdullah.
However, based on commentary from Kuwait's State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, it seems unlikely that a decision on the proposed union will be reached over the next two days. "When consensus is reached, a special summit will convene in Riyadh to make the announcement," he said.
The GCC-Iranian relationship is also scheduled for discussion during the two-day summit.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Jawad Zarif's visited four of the six GCC countries last week following Tehran's historic deal on its nuclear program with world powers to assure the GCC that the deal was in their interest. However, Zarif did not visit Bahrain or Saudi Arabia on the tour, with Riyadh still quite skeptical over Iran's recent diplomacy.
The GCC summit will also discuss the proposed January Geneva peace talks to end the crisis in Syria as well as the "Kuwait 2" donors conference to raise humanitarian aid for victims of the conflict.
Other topics on the agenda include greater economic integration among GCC countries.