Bahrain set to hold GCC summit

Published December 24th, 2012 - 07:43 GMT
Bahrain is gearing up to hold a GCC summit which discuss closer economic ties and the Syrian conflict
Bahrain is gearing up to hold a GCC summit which discuss closer economic ties and the Syrian conflict

Bahrain is gearing up to host a meeting of top Gulf government ministers on Monday, which is set to focus on the Syrian crisis and regional military cooperation and economic unity. 

The meeting will be chaired by Bahrain foreign minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, and attended by his counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Bahrain News Agency reported. 

The two-day meeting, on Dec. 24-25, will cover areas including “military cooperation, environmental protection and accelerating the steps leading to the economic unity,” Sheikh Khalifa told Qatari daily Al-Sharq. 

An integrated economic unit for the GCC would be the main focus of the talks, the minister added.

A preparatory session before the two-day summit, presented a number of recommendations which stress that GCC decisions on economic agreements should soon be implemented.

Last week, Bahrain said an announcement over a union of the six member states would not be made at the summit.

A Gulf Union would supersede the existing GCC and bring member states even closer.

Khalifa, speaking at a parliament session last Tuesday, said the Gulf Union will be announced at “a special summit meeting to be held in Riyadh in compliance with the resolution passed by the GCC leaders during their consultative summit meeting which was held recently in Riyadh,” the Khaleej Times reported.

Meanwhile, at the two-day summit, the 22-month-old Syria conflict is expected to also top the agenda.

In November, The six Gulf states recognized a newly-formed opposition bloc as the Syrian people's legitimate representative.

The GCC members -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- were the first to recognize the opposition coalition.

"The states of the council announce recognizing the National Coalition... as the legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people," GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said.

He said the oil-rich bloc would support the coalition in the hope that "this will be a step towards a quick political transfer of power."

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