Saudi Arabia proposes to transform GCC into Gulf Union

The leaders of the member states in the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) have welcomed  a proposal  by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia for transition from the phase of cooperation to the phase of union.

The Saudi monarch, who is also current chairman of the GCC, had made the proposal in his opening speech to the 32nd session of the supreme council of the GCC on Monday in Riyadh.

A statement issued by the General Secretariat of the GCC on Tuesday said: "Stemming from the faith of the GCC leaders in the importance of this proposal and its positive impact on the peoples of the region, as well as in line with the provisions of Article IV of the GCC Statute on coordination, integration and interdependence among Member States in all fields reaching up to unity, and after the exchange of views on the proposal.

"The leaders have given directives to the Ministerial Council to form a specialised body comprising three members from each state. The body will be mandated to study the proposal in all its aspects in the light of the views exchanged among the leaders.

"The meetings of the board will be held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat, which will provide all necessary administrative, technical and financial support to facilitate this."

The member states are to name their respective representatives no later than the 1st February, 2012. The board will present a preliminary report in March 2012 to the Ministerial Council at its first session in 2012 in preparation for putting it up it to the heads of GCC states. The board willl also submit its final recommendations to the 14th Consultative Meeting of Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Cooperation Council.

Stress the importance of standing united

The Riyadh Declaration issued at the end of the 32nd Summit of the GCC leaders earlier this afternoon has emphasized their understanding of the changes, challenges and dangers which threaten the re-drawing of the situations in the region and which target the bonds that brings them together. This calls for closing the ranks, unifying the visions and mobilising their joint energies, the Declaration said.

The GCC leaders also reiterated their full commitment to seriousness and credibility in order to achieve the objectives of the Statute of the Council, including coordination, integration and interdependence among Member States in all fields in their quest to unity. The need for keeping abreast with the aspirations of the people of GCC states to accelerate the pace of joint action and to strengthen the concept of Arab and Islamic identity of the member countries as well as to achieve greater coherence and unity, strength and well-being was also emphasised.

The Riyadh Declaration stated that while the leaders of the GCC countries declare their determination to strengthen and expand the role of citizens of GCC countries in order to achieve a bright future that meets the aspirations of younger generations, they assert to :.

1-      Adopt the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to move beyond cooperation to the Union to transform the GCC into a single entity in order to achieve good and ward off evil, in response to the aspirations of the citizens of GCC countries and the challenges they face.

2-      Speed up the process of development and comprehensive reform in their countries so as to achieve greater participation of all citizens, men and women and opens vast prospects for the future, at the same time maintaining the security, stability and national cohesion and social welfare.

3-       Fortify the home front and the consolidation of national unity based on the equality of all citizens before the law and in their rights and duties; and confronting the attempts by the troubled foreign entities who try to export their internal crises through sedition, division and incitement of sectarian sentiments.

4-      Work hard to achieve the highest degree of economic integration among the GCC countries and overcome the impediments that obstruct the march to achieve the customs union, monetary union and the common market of GCC states.

5-      Develop defense and security cooperation to ensure rapid, effective, united and collective encountering of any dangers and emergencies.

6-      Activate GCC diplomacy to serve the national, Arab and Islamic issues; unify group communication with all regional and international powers and safeguard the common interests of the GCC countries in all international forums.

7-      Deepen the collective belongingness in the minds of the youth in GCC states, fortify its identity and protect its gains by intensifying communication, cooperation and convergence among them and by employing educational, informational, cultural, sports and scout activities to achieve this goal.

The General Secretariat of the GCC will follow-up and report to the Supreme Council