Official: No plan yet to invite Egypt to join GCC

Published December 12th, 2011 - 09:26 GMT

Dubai A Kuwaiti official’s comments yesterday that Egypt is on the list of countries that could join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took Gulf officials by surprise.

“I have no idea about it,” said Sa’ad Al Ammar, GCC Assistant-Secretary for Political Affairs. “It has never been discussed in the Council,” Al Ammar told Gulf News.

“This is unheard of. It had never been discussed or raised,” said another Gulf official who asked not to be named.

“It has not been on the table and Egypt has not even asked [for it]. I expect a denial or a clarification in the next few hours,” said a third official.

Earlier, reports quoted Humood Al Radhwan, head of the GCC directorate in Kuwait’s foreign ministry, as saying that “Egypt is on the list to join the GCC.”

‘No serious base’

“I don’t think such a plan has a serious base, unlike the situation with Jordan and Morocco,” said Abdul Hamid Al Da’as, editor-in-chief of Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Alam Al Yawm (The World Today).

“My information is that such a plan has not been put up for discussion within the framework of the GCC,” he told Gulf News.

Both Jordan and Morocco were invited to join the bloc in May. However, the move was met with opposition.

Meanwhile, the issue of full membership for Morocco and Jordan has been shelved. At the end of their last meeting in September, GCC foreign ministers did not include the word “membership”, a Gulf official noted.

Instead, the GCC officials “spoke of joint work, boosting distinguished relations and strategic ties.”

Other officials explained that the working groups have been formed to discuss partnership and cooperation between Jordan, Morocco and GCC.

The outcome was very positive for both sides, one official noted.

A report on the areas of cooperation will be sent to the foreign ministers, a Gulf official said, ahead of the GCC summit in Riyadh next week.

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