Tuesday , December 12 2017

The ‘summit’ of integration

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

FOR the first time in the history of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summits, we feel the summit’s concluding statement has not only nursed the wound of every council member but implicitly has expressed the ambitions of the people in the sphere of economic spectrum and incorporation of interests.

This is the response to all rumors of fragility of the GCC as an organization. Whatever contained in the statement is on its way to becoming an integrated reality able to overstep all barriers which are expected to surface in due course.

If the GCC states interpret what their leaders have agreed upon in their final communiqué which was issued after the summit, these countries will overcome everything in future, especially if we look at the European Union (EU) countries which is a living example.

The economic journey begun by the EU has cemented a joint political vision for countries of varying cultures, language and history that would otherwise make unity unattainable, but for the countries which share the same destiny, culture, history and language the integration should be no more than a stepping stone if we look at countries prior to the formation of the European Union.

This huge leap forward makes everything possible to achieve this unity through immediate execution of issues which the member states are in harmony about.

And it is here that the GCC Secretary-General needs to play a vital role by thorough follow up, particularly with nations that appear hesitant to give shape to the grand GCC scheme, whether in terms of the customs union or unified currency or the GCC train — the train that has united the United States of America.

The GCC citizens need quick answers to their many questions and this is the task of the GCC Secretary-General to answer them through the GCC media.

The GCC Secretary-General could also explain the essence of barriers that prevent the unification of investment laws, in the sense that the Gulf nations will have equal opportunities to invest in any of the GCC member countries.

For instance, Qatar should allow the GCC citizens to invest through the establishment of commercial projects and companies and opening up investment opportunities for them just like its citizens.

Another area is where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could broaden the scope for opportunities for the GCC citizens to invest in its agriculture, industry and real-estate among others, and the same goes for the Sultanate of Oman — which has vast investment opportunities but needs capital and ideas — and Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait.

Indeed, the summit’s concluding statement can be looked upon as the foundation on which the unity of the GCC countries can be built upon and which the late King Abdallah bin AbdulAziz had stressed upon years ago. This has now been reiterated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Salman bin AbdulAziz during the summit.

It is because this is the only way to rescue the GCC countries from the repercussions of what the region experiences in terms of wars, conflicts and perhaps the change in borders and even disappearance of some from the map.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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