Terrorism, Syria to top GCC talks agenda

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Kingdom will host the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Dec. 10 at which the regional leaders will discuss ways and means to fight terrorism besides key regional conflicts and global issues.

The 36th GCC summit will also focus on the Syrian crisis, Yemen war, regional military cooperation and, above all, economic unity among the member states of the GCC.

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of Iran will also be taken up for discussion,” said a GCC official, while speaking briefly about the summit’s agenda.

“The fight against terror, however, will top the agenda,” said Khaled Al-Jarallah, Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister, in a statement. “The GCC summit convenes under highly sensitive and critical circumstances that require the member countries to forge a closer security alliance,” said the statement.

GCC Secretary-General Abdullateef Al-Zayani is currently touring the Gulf states to hold talks with top leaders and officials with an aim to finalize the agenda. Al-Zayani called on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE’s vice president and ruler of Dubai, on Sunday and briefed him about the arrangements for the summit.

“Sheikh Mohammed was also briefed on the agenda of the summit, which will deal with political, economic and security topics in the light of the current developments in the region,” said a statement released Sunday. Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Al-Zayani on Sunday. The GCC chief briefed the emir about the prominent issues on the agenda.

Syria and Yemen are the two most critical issues, while many other regional issues demand equal attention from regional and global leaders.

In fact, major world powers have set Jan. 1 as the date for talks on Syria to begin, along with a cease-fire. In preparation for the talks, Saudi Arabia has been trying to bring together on one table the exile groups and armed factions fighting Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

The war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition fighting Houthi rebels, is also expected to be prominent on the summit agenda.

The GCC is a strong political and economic alliance, which seeks to boost security, defense and economic cooperation. The GCC was formed in May 1981 against the backdrop of the revolution in Iran and the Iraq-Iran war. Collectively, GCC countries possess almost half of the world’s oil reserves. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful member of the alliance.


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