Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Has the GCC Changed? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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GCC leaders in 1981

Since its establishment 35 years ago the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been accompanied by positivity and negativity and these two elements have not been separated to this day. The positive aspect is that the Council is moving forward and has not diminished even when afflicted by the most severe crises. As for the negative aspect, its extremely slow journey and its projects which progress at glacial pace causes the inhabitants of the Gulf to sometimes forget that their Council still exists.

However, the clause included in the “Riyadh Declaration” yesterday may increase the pace of achievement and change in the structure on which the Council is formed. The vision of the Saudi monarch, the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, included “the possibility of an agreement between a number of member states on any integrative measures seen in the framework of the Council to be followed by the rest of the countries when the time is right for them”. This fundamental change in the mechanism of the Council’s work will actually be a real acceleration for brilliant projects decided on by the Gulf summits. On the other hand, the devil of details will slow this acceleration down for a long time; and some countries, for one reason or another, will not be convinced of a project completely and despite that agree on it provisionally and then reach a deadlock over the contents.

With this new transformation, it is possible that two or three countries proceed with the projects that they deem appropriate within the framework of the Council, and it is not necessary for the rest of the countries to join these projects as long as they are not convinced of them or want to deliberate. Of course, it is a legitimate matter and an understood right for every country to have its own vision and policies which are respected by its partners.