Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat – GCC leaders are in Manama today to participate in the 33rd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The two-day summit is expected to discuss numerous political, economic issues, with a particular focus on the regional security threats posed by Iran.
Iran is expected to dominate discussions at the GCC Summit. Concerns about its interference in GCC affairs will be debated at the two-day event at Sakhir Palace.
Longstanding Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal accused Iran of exploiting regional circumstances to push its agenda. “We refuse Iranian intervention and have several times told them to stop, but they didn’t,” Al Faisal said following a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Bahrain yesterday.
“Iran is using the circumstances to interfere in Arab internal affairs and we would have understood their stand if it is for the good, unfortunately it is spreading division.”
“We can’t let this issue to go on for long and for that the GCC and the Arab world have to take a united stand against it.” Al Faisal added.
GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani told the Saudi press agency that the Manama Summit would discuss current issues in the region, including the Syrian crisis, supporting the Syrian people, achieving their aspirations and helping Yemen. Regarding the Iranian issue, Al Zayani said the GCC rejects Iran’s occupation of the UAE islands and demands resolution of the issue in a peaceful manner. “We also reject Iranian interference in the internal affairs of any GCC state.”
Other issues on the agenda include the creation of a GCC customs union and common market, with member states due to announce their preparations for adoption of new measures.
In other summit-related news, Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, Dr. Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Jasser stressed the importance of achievements and steps undertaken by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the road to integration and economic unity, expressing the hope to address the remaining obstacles to the accomplishment of the objectives of GCC integration and unity as soon as possible.
He said in a statement that the transition of the GCC States from the stage of cooperation to the Union as called by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became a need to preserve the entity of the Council and its development and give more momentum to the common march of GCC States in all fields in light of the regional and global changes and developments.
The Minister of Economy and Planning emphasized the importance of activating the King’s call to move to the stage of the Union to establish a GCC economic bloc that can deal in high efficiency with regional and international economic blocs and achieve the interests of the GCC countries.