Muscat, Asharq Al-Awsat and Agencies – The United Arab Emirates [UAE] informed member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] of its strong objection regarding the lack of an agreement on the location of the proposed GCC Central Bank, Monday. The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are vying to host the regional central bank, which will be independent from the governments of member countries.
An Emirati source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the UAE was the first member-state to put itself forward to host the GCC Central Bank over four years ago. The source added that his country “remained the only country [to offer to host the GCC Central Bank] for over two years, without any other Gulf country revealing an interest to host [the GCC Central Bank] headquarters.”
The source stressed that the UAE’s position is stronger than others as it is the only Gulf country that does not already host the headquarters of a joint-financial project. He said that the UAE informed the member states of its strong objection “because [the UAE] feels that this is unfair; the UAE was the first to step forward and has had no competition [to host the headquarters] for all this time.”
The source recalled that Bahrain was the last country to put itself forward as host for the GCC Central Bank, while Qatar also recently revealed a desire to host the headquarters responsible for the proposed unified Gulf currency.
It is assumed that the GCC monetary agreement will result in the formation of a Monetary Council which is expected to be established in 2009. In turn this will lead to the establishment of a GCC Central Bank that will be responsible for launching the unified currency in 2010.
The Secretary-General of the GCC Abdul Rahman al Attiyah revealed in a press conference on Monday the desire of other Gulf States – including Qatar – to host the GCC Central Bank.
According to the Gulf official, the country that hosts the GCC Central Bank cannot host similar institutions.
Economic experts consider the establishment of a GCC Central Bank and a GCC monetary union critical factors that will allow GCC states to face the challenges caused by globalization and the current global financial crisis.