At the 22nd summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement was reached to set up a Supreme Defense Council for the six member countries. The role of the new council will be to oversee the implementation of the GCC’s joint defense pact, which was signed in January 2001.
The Supreme Defense Council was recommended earlier this year by the chiefs of staff of the Gulf countries, and approved in October by the GCC defense ministers at their 20th annual meeting, held in Manama, Bahrain.
At the 22nd GCC summit in Oman, leaders of the six Gulf nations concluded their two-day meeting by agreeing that the Supreme Defense Council will be chaired by the country that is holding the annual presidency of the GCC at the time.
The council will meet once a year at the level of defense ministers and can be convened in case of emergency for joint sessions with foreign ministers, as one delegate told French agency AFP. The Council is to be supported by a High Committee composed of chiefs of staff, and by military technical committees.
There have been several steps undertaken over the past year to improve military cooperation between GCC countries, and it is likely the new Council will aid further progress. GCC air defense and early warning systems are being integrated, and efforts are reportedly underway for acquiring a military satellite. (www.albawaba.com )