London, Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat – An official at the Omani Foreign Ministry has stated that the Sultanate of Oman is discussing with the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] countries the next date for their summit. The Omani official’s statement follows reports that the summit’s date has been changed from 24 November to December.
The official told Asharq al-Awsat by telephone from London: “This is a matter of consultations. There were several options between November and December but the inclination now seems to be toward December.” He added that the Sultanate of Oman is flexible and will choose the date on which the GCC countries agree and said: “We are still in the stage of consultations between the leaders now and the decision will rest with the date agreed on in December. There are several options and an announcement will be made in the near future.” Asked if Iran would participate at the Oman summit as guest, the Omani official said the summit would not host any party from outside the GCC and added: “There is no participation by any other country in the summit. The GCC countries alone are concerned with this summit.”
The official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, explained that the economic issues would be at the top of the summit discussion in view of the global financial crisis and said: “We are confident of the strength and stability of the GCC country’s economies. The governments have taken measures as their conditions and priorities dictate and I am expecting more measures to be taken than the ones already taken at present.” Omani sources had reported that the upcoming GCC summit, which is scheduled to be held in the Omani capital Muscat during the third part of November, was postponed till December. The GCC summit is usually held in December but the Omani authorities had asked for the date to be brought to 24 November due to the feast holidays and obligations of meeting the foreign ministers.
The United Arab Emirates denied knowledge of the GCC 29th summit’s postponement till December while Bahrain said it would be difficult to reprogram the summit by postponing it another time.