‘Security, economic issues major concern for GCC’

By Rahul Dass, IANS
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ABU DHABI - Security and economic issues are of major concern to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a leading daily said Tuesday, hoping the regional bloc will be “able to resolve differences and emerge stronger to benefit the region”.

The two-day summit of the six-nation GCC, which began here Monday, is being held under the chairmanship of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Terrorism is high on the agenda of the summit.

Khaleej Times in an editorial Monday said: “This summit is particularly significant in terms of the implications of the GCC states’ drive towards joint action in the areas of security, stability and the economic integration of the regional states.”

It said that the summit’s agenda shows “there are several security and economic issues that are of major concern”.

“This is especially important given the yet unstable economic world order and the growing security threat posed by a possible nuclear arms race in the region. Moreover, the Mideast conflict and continuing territorial disputes in the Gulf continue to challenge regional peace and stability.”

The editorial observed that though contentions among the member states continue to exist “there is a growing understanding of the necessity to remove the major blocks in an effort to reach a more cohesive regional bloc”.

It pointed out that each member state has “a strong individualistic economic identity and takes its economic decisions based on that trend denotes discrepancies within the economic bloc”.

“Kuwait for instance has de-pegged its currency from the dollar unlike other GCC States. This trend is also indicative of further obstacles in the future that are likely to mar the achievement of a single currency by 2015 — the new deadline after the GCC states failed to do so this year.”

The GCC members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The editorial went on to say that “the emphasis on the peaceful use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes in view of the aspirations of several member states to obtain it through legal international channels is a reminder to neighbouring Iran to abstain from covert illegal means that raise suspicions about its intent to divert it to military purposes”.

“It is hoped that the GCC states are able to resolve differences and emerge stronger to benefit the region. This is bound to propel it to new heights in terms of political weightage that will only enhance it’s economic status as a regional heavyweight.”

(Rahul Dass can be contacted at rahul.d@ians.in)

Filed under: Diplomacy

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