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Summit renews hope

THE expression of divergent opinions is common among GCC member states. This scenario is not new to them as it has been happening for a long time. A situation like that normally leads to positive results, because the expression of divergent opinions inside a house is the basis for arriving at the best idea to further strengthen the pillars of the house. Undoubtedly, unity is the ultimate target of the council. Saudi Arabia expressed this when it proposed unity at a time the region was facing serious danger. The idea is to protect the council against those who might exploit loopholes to serve their own interests.

The member states have agreed on the proposal, because they have been upholding the principle of unity since the inception of the GCC in 1981. However, there are other viewpoints that deserve attention; so the Sultanate of Oman may have based its position on the concern over consistent development of the cooperation, just like what others feel.  Why are some people surprised about the divergent opinions? Do the European Union members not disagree, an act that does not affect their aspiration for unity based on a solid foundation? They disagree up to the extent that some countries are not part of certain institutions, such as the United Kingdom which maintains its currency rather than adopting the Euro.

Despite their differences, they still maintain a joint parliament with rotational leadership and decisions binding on all members. Differences between European nations are far more than those of the GCC countries. This region shares one culture, religion, language, norms and traditions. Europeans speak different languages with various cultures; and they faced wars for decades, leading to loss of many lives and injuries. Yet, they have triumphed over the obstacles, such that they have been maintaining unity for almost four decades and they continue to grow stronger.

Establishing the GCC is not a passing phase, but a crucial option for leaders and the people. It stemmed from only one trend and fate, so the members have been weathering storms which hit the region. Obviously, the road is nerve-racking due to the need to overcome obstacles along the way, especially if the long distance is taken into consideration. Therefore, decisions taken in the just-concluded summit are considered a giant leap towards accomplishing Paragraph One in Article Four of the GCC Treaty.

It is true that the council has actualized many aspirations of the leaders and citizens, but there are several other ambitions which must be realized. These ambitions include the customs, water and electricity links; as well as the infrastructure required for easy and quick transportation of goods, people, capital and investment. This is in addition to the exchange of security information through an electronic link. All these steps will enhance coordination, integration and link between member states in line with Article Four of the GCC Treaty.

In the summit, the wisdom and ingenuity of His Highness the Amir were evident as he chaired the sessions. He ensured that decisions taken during those sessions were new foundations for making the vision of the council. The governments and people of the member-countries will feel the effect of such efforts in the nearest future, because these decisions will transform wishes and dreams into reality. GCC citizens usually win the bet in their journey, as they depend on leaders and governments committed to serving citizens and stabilizing their nations. They also won the bet in the summit despite the worrisome incidents and changes in the region; because they bet on themselves, not others.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah

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