GCC gets closer to announcing an official 'Gulf Union'

Published August 2nd, 2012 - 10:52 GMT

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.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in December called upon fellow GCC states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE to move from the phase of cooperation to a Gulf union within a single entity.

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.

An ad-hoc commission, made up of 12 members, two from each member country, was set up to look into ways to implement the proposal.

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.

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