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14 December 2009 02:41 pm

GCC leaders meet in Kuwait today

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The six leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will gather for their 30th summit in Kuwait today to discuss the customs union and the railway project, as well as the monetary union agreement and the single Gulf currency. Their discussions will also centre on the security and political challenges that the world and the region have encountered lately. The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani leaves Doha this afternoon for Kuwait. The establishment of the GCC in 1981 constituted a turning point in relations between the six member states, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. The summit in Kuwait will witness the official launch of the GCC electricity linkage grid. The first phase of the project was completed after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait were linked, while the second phase saw the linkage of the UAE and Oman. The third and final stage will be to connect these two grids together. This vital project will create a channel through which to share electrical power in mutual interest, and provide support to the power grids of the individual member states in the case of any emergency. The monetary union agreement is considered the first step towards establishing a GCC economic council, which will in turn pave the way for the establishment of a GCC central bank. However, this requires the endorsement of all the member states; the UAE and Oman have yet to do so. The GCC leaders are seeking to pass the agreement, so as to move forward with the common currency, which will allow for greater economic cooperation and integration between the member states, while boosting Gulf economies and forming an economic bloc, according to Kuwait news agency “KUNA”. The summit will also see the discussion of reports on developments regarding the common GCC market, which was launched at the Doha Summit in December 2007. The council has gone a long way in implementing the incentives that come with the market, including equality and nationalism in higher education and vocational training. Moreover, the summit will shed light on matters related to food security and the global economic crisis, where the GCC’s Consultative Authority has prepared two reports for approval and tasking relevant ministerial committees with benefitting from their findings QNA