Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Bahraini official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Gulf Union is expected to be announced in mid-2013, although he refused to divulge the precise number of states that will initially comprise this international organization. He revealed that the Gulf Union would be announced at a consultative summit scheduled to be held in Saudi capital Riyadh next year.
Whilst Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa confirmed that Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] moving from a stage of “cooperation” to one of “union” will not be announced at the forthcoming GCC summit scheduled to take place on 24 and 24 December in Manama. He added that this will take place at a special summit held in Riyadh, according to the decision of the GCC Supreme Council at its most recent consultative summit.
For his part, Deputy Bahraini Parliamentary Speaker, MP Adel al-Mouwda, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Bahraini Foreign Minister had informed Bahrain’s parliament that the Manama summit would not see any announcement regarding the Gulf Union. However he revealed that this may be announced at the consultative summit to be hosted by Riyadh in mid-2013, although the Bahraini Foreign Minister did not give any additional details regarding the timing or content of this announcement
Al-Mouwda revealed that he had previously asked the Bahraini Foreign Minister, during a parliamentary session, what diplomatic achievements have been made towards responding to the call issued by Saudi Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, for a Gulf Union.
As for the Bahraini Foreign Minister’s response, al-Mouwda said this was issued in writing according to the traditions of the Bahraini parliament, whilst a parliamentary session was then held to discuss this.
The Deputy Parliamentary Speaker stressed that the Bahraini parliament is seeking to express the pulse of the Bahraini street, sending a message to the GCC leadership to speed up the proposed union, albeit in a step-by-step manner during the first stage. As for the features of this first stage towards a Gulf Union, al-Mouwda described this as being akin to a “confederation”, with each state retaining its national sovereignty.
During a Bahraini parliamentary session, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa confirmed that the GCC states moving from a state of “cooperation” to one of “union” is an important strategic step, adding that Bahrain and its ruler, King Hamad Bin Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, had welcomed this as soon as it was proposed by Saudi monarch King Abdullah.
He stressed that Bahrain will implement everything that has been agreed upon in this respect, regarding it as a popular demand of the Bahraini people. He added “the Kingdom of Bahrain has already appointed its representative to the body of the Union which has been created in order to put the Saudi overture in place.”