Gulf nations eye union as summit ends

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Manama, Bahrain (4E) – Ministers from six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreed to upgrade the grouping into a union with an integrated economy and defense at the conclusion of their two-day 33rd summit in Sakhir Palace, Bahrain on Tuesday.

In the joint declaration of the GCC representatives from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, the ministers said the Gulf Union proposed in the previous summit in Riyadh shall be adopted to enable GCC citizens to meet the challenges they face and fulfill the objectives of the GCC statute.

The ministers also committed to establish a common market, Gulf citizenship, manpower exchange and common defense system. They also agreed to open national training centers and universities to GCC nationals.

“We are looking forward to a strong union that meets the hopes and aspirations of GCC citizens by completing economic union, creating economic and social environment to boost welfare, and adopting a unified and effective foreign policy to ward off the member states from regional and global conflicts,” said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, according to Arab News.

Salman, who led the Saudi delegation, represented Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who is recuperating from a surgery. Also attending the summit were Qatar’s crown prince, the United Arab Emirate’s vice president and Oman’s deputy premier.

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