The six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries said yesterday it would not accept any political conditions by the European Union to the signing of a free trade agreement, being discussed for 20 years.
It said it would wait to hear the EU's final position on the issue, which was expected during a planned visit by the Europeans in July. "The GCC states reject the imposition of conditions and political demands by the European side to sign an economic agreement," GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al Attiyah said.
He said GCC foreign ministers who met on Monday in Saudi Arabia had agreed to wait for the EU's final say. "Foreign ministers have decided not to take a decision before receiving the final European position during a planned visit by a European Commission team in July" to the GCC headquarters in Riyadh, he said.
Attiyah said the EU had promised during a joint meeting in Brussels on May 26 to finalise the agreement by the end of this year.