No delay in GCC monetary union: Attiyah

Gulf oil producers yesterday denied reports that they have shelved plans to launch a monetary union by 2010 and said the issue would be discussed by their heads of state at a meeting in May.

Quoting officials from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) yesterday, Reuters and other news reports said member countries have decided to extend the 2010 deadline for the world's second currency union.

Reacting to such reports, GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said the 2010 deadline remains in force, according to the Saudi Arabic language daily Al Jazeera.

"In a statement to Al Jazeera, Al Attiyah denied reports that the deadline for the monetary union has been extended," the paper said.

"He affirmed that the monetary union's deadline is still on schedule in 2010… he said he had no knowledge of any statements in this respect, adding that the issue would be on top of the agenda to be discussed by the GCC heads of state at their consultative meeting in Riyadh in May."

It also quoted him as saying that the GCC is moving in a clear direction in "implementing its resolutions and programmes aimed at achieving economic merger following the launching of the Gulf common market in January last year."

Al Jazeera added: "He also affirmed that the GCC heads of state have approved the currency union and the statute of the monetary council and have charged the ministerial council with signing the agreement for the union after selecting the permanent headquarters of the monetary council…"

Quoting an unnamed GCC official, Reuters said the 2010 date for the currency union would be extended and the board of the monetary council would approve a new timetable for putting the currency into circulation.

The news agency said his comments followed statements by Naser Al Kaud, deputy assistant secretary-general of the GCC, who said a new timetable for the common currency would be set by the monetary council.
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