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GCC foreign ministers meet this week to prepare for summit

RIYADH: Foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will this week hold a meeting to draw up the agenda for a summit to be attended by the heads of GCC countries early next month in Bahrain.
Collective security, military affairs, regional conflicts and common market as well as falling oil prices will make the agenda of the ministerial meeting.
This GCC ministerial meeting, the first after the US elections, has added significance as it has also been entrusted with the task of finalizing the agenda of the GCC Supreme Council meeting. The ministers are also likely to discuss the proposal to transform the GCC into a “Gulf Union,” which was proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2011.
“Recommendations by ministerial councils and joint committees, as well as regional conflicts in the Middle East, will be reviewed by the foreign ministers as part of the preparatory meeting of the GCC summit,” said a reliable source. The ministers will also discuss the Syrian crisis, Iranian intransigence and the GCC initiative on Yemen, which is yet to be implemented in the war-torn
country.
“This ministerial session has been convened while the region is witnessing serious challenges that require vigilance, unity and hard work in order to preserve GCC solidarity and achievements,” he added. The GCC initiative in Yemen needs to be promoted with full strength and in cooperation with international partners.
A Saudi Arabian-led coalition of mostly Arab countries, backed by the United States, intervened in Yemen last March in support of the internationally recognized government.
The GCC is a strong regional political and economic bloc, which was founded in 1981. There have been discussions about the future GCC membership of Jordan, Morocco and Yemen in the past.
The Supreme Council, which comprises the heads of GCC member states, is the highest authority of the GCC. Jordan’s request to join the GCC was accepted in 2011, whereas Morocco was invited to join the bloc. A five-year economic plan for Jordan and Morocco was prepared and submitted by the GCC foreign ministers in September 2011. The plan was designed to boost political and economic capabilities of the two countries.
There is no timeline for accession to the GCC despite the fact that a plan for membership for the two countries are being reviewed.

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