Important GCC Summit in Exceptional Circumstances

  • 14 December 2009

The people of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be looking at Kuwait today and tomorrow where regional leaders are meeting for the 30th GCC Summit. The discussions held during the Summit and the decisions taken will be of major significance because of the exceptional circumstances prevailing in the region and beyond. The global financial crisis has impacted the whole world, including the Arabian Gulf region, which is deeply connected with the global economy.  If the GCC countries have been able to deal with the crisis so far, their collective action can also help them cope up with the remaining negative impacts on their economies in the future.

On a regional level, several challenges have emerged, most important being the rising tensions between Iran and the West on the nuclear issue. There have been clashes between government forces and the Houthi group in Yemen which has taken a regional dimension. The peace process between Arabs and Israelis has suffered due to Netanyahu government’s refusal to comply with its references. Since the GCC is an important Arab, regional and international platform – both at economic and strategic levels – its stand on complex issues get attention. This is more so because the GCC countries does not work in isolation but in association with other regional and international forces and institutions. This fact was reaffirmed by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, during his exclusive conversation with the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, days ago.

Ever since it appeared on the horizon of the Middle East, the GCC has been able to retain its entity and has held regular discussions even during difficult circumstances. The Council has developed a mechanism to take important decisions aimed at further integration of its member countries. It is true that, despite its various achievements, the GCC has not met all its ambitions and hopes of its people who are linked by strong cultural, religious, geographical and other common interests. However, efforts are on to achieve these objectives and the keenness to achieve this collective Gulf framework is unwavering despite the differences that exist. Divergence of views on some dossiers and issues notwithstanding, the common feeling of destiny and realization of the challenge is more entrenched within the GCC.

While the GCC has sustained itself over the years, other Arab groupings have either collapsed or have largely remained frozen. For this reason, GCC is not only a hope for the Gulf but also stands for the solidarity and integration of the Arab world. The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressed this during his interview with KUNA. He said that the GCC’s establishment was in response to real issues and it has been built on policies that follow a coherent, careful and gradual approach. The GCC’s march since 1981 has set a good precedent for continuing joint Arab action in different fields, most importantly linking all Arab countries to one framework. That is the only way to achieve integration and resolve differences.