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MANAMA, Dec 9, (KUNA): Bahrain Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa underlined importance of advancing from the state of cooperation among the Arab Gulf countries to the union “as a safe haven” with political and strategic horizons, thus honoring Gulf people’s aspirations. The 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, due in Kuwait tomorrow, “will be an important mark that can establish a new phase of the common Gulf action,” Prince Khalifa said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Prince Khalifa said the Dec 10-11 34th Summit, to be chaired by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, would be held amidst “changes that require unconventional methods to deal with the new reality that has been formulating in the region and other regions.” He voiced confident that the summit would have “constructive” resolutions that would further contribute to the prosperity of people and integration of the GCC member countries at all levels.

Prince Khalifa said moving from the “state of cooperation to the state of the Gulf union is a pressing demand more than ever.” He added the Gulf people were keen on seeing the union as reality. “Peoples of the members of the Council hope that the Gulf unity be reality especially that it is one of the demands declared since the establishment of the GCC in 1981 ... Time has come to establish the Gulf union without delay,” affirmed Prince Khalifa. “The endorsement of the Gulf union will put the framework that will meet aspirations of peoples of the Council members,” he added, citing the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the EU and African Union. The Bahraini Prime Minister reaffirmed that this was the right time to establish the Gulf union. “It is a winwin situation that we should move to with the objective of achieving sustainable security and stability in the region.” Prince Khalifa lamented the state of division among the Arabs. “We have to have clearer policies to make the change that we want not the others want.”

Prince Khalifa, meanwhile, called for having a unified media address, and the economic unity like the single Gulf currency and the Gulf central bank to ultimately establish the common market. “We have to have an economic and political strength which ... confronts any shock created by our modern world that aim at partitioning our entities,” he said. Prince Khalifa, on the other hand, said the regional countries were responsible for security and stability of the area in a drive to guarantee implementation of development plans. Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs are basic principles of international relations. “Abiding by these principles in the Arabian Gulf region will contribute to security and stability,” he said. Asked about relations between Bahrain and Kuwait, Prince Khalifa commended Kuwait’s contributions to economic development in the Kingdom. He also praised the “vital and important” role of Kuwait in the march of the six-member GCC. The GCC consists of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE.

On the eve of the 34th Summit of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), economists on Monday called on the Gulf leaders to adopt effective mechanisms to activate existing economic cooperation resolutions instead of taking new ones. In separate interviews with KUNA, they pointed out that the Supreme Council of GCC was able to crystallize creative ideas to unify the economic systems of the Gulf countries in previous summits. They added that the time has come to better benefit from the outcome of previous summits through adopting clear and effective mechanisms. “Over its 33-year history, the GCC states discussed all key topics relevant to the economic integration plans and had already taken important decisions in this regard to achieve the interests and welfare of Gulf people,” Hajaj Bukhadhour told KUNA. He cited as examples the decisions taken by the GCC summits to create a railway, electricity and water linkage, set up a GCC customs union and to launch a single Gulf currency. Bukhadhour also noted that the GCC leaders had also taken several resolutions with a view to ensure food security among state members. “The bold decisions taken by the pan-Gulf organization is not less important than decisions taken by any successful international organization,” he added. “What is required now is clear mechanisms to put those decisions into effect,” Bukhadhour said, adding that “This is the real challenge facing the GCC countries today.” He stressed the need for acceleration of the activation of all economic resolutions.


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