KUWAIT CITY, Feb 8: Former Secretary- General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Ambassador Abdullah Bishara, sees the GCC passing through a great political malaise, and that the only hope for overcoming it rests in the efforts exerted by HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, and Kuwaiti diplomacy, reports Al-Rai daily.
Bishara speaking at a symposium which was held under the title ‘Dreams and reality of the Gulf Cooperation Council states’, organized by the Center for Gulf Studies at the American University in Kuwait, talked about the need to bridge the Gulf rift, pointing out that the Gulf peoples must unite and fall in line with the system.
He pointed out that the decision of the Gulf leaders in establishing the Cooperation Council came as a reference to the logic of history, the necessity of facing the dangers with a collective Gulf stance that limits their threats and addresses them with the inherited Gulf wisdom in balance and rationality and intensifies consultation, in order to protect the region’s safety.
He pointed out that one of the reasons for not approving some joint projects in the GCC system, including customs tariffs and valueadded tax, is due to the Kuwaiti parliament’s refusal to pass it, despite the approval of the rest of the GCC countries, stressing that the government absence in taking decisions delays the real will to develop.
He stated the Kuwaiti non-oil exports currently do not exceed 300 million dinars from a budget exceeding 20 billion, and the time has come to stress on the diversification of sources of income. He denied that Western countries have a role in the current division between the GCC states, stressing that they want the GCC to be strong, unified, and influential, as it is a key factor for the stability of the region saying fragmentation weakens it.
He considered that the western view of the Gulf countries is that they are a source of liquidity only, as they depend only on one source of income, which is oil, pointing out that the giant projects that exist in the Kuwait plan 2035, including the establishment of projects to develop Kuwaiti islands, will constitute new sources of income for the country.
In turn, the director of the center, Dr Sharifa Al- Adwani, said that Ambassador Bishara “was and is still an infl uential figure in the common history of our region”, pointing out that he has stressed on the importance and continuing role of the Gulf Cooperation Council, for Kuwait, the region and the broader Arab world.