Gulf in the News – February 11, 2014

Saudi calls Iran to withdraw troops from Syria

Source: Middle East Monitor (Read full story)

Iran must withdraw its troops from Syria if it is serious about improving Saudi-Iranian relations, a Saudi official said.  Former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Turki Al-Faisal told American new station CNN that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani must convert his words into actions if he truly wishes to improve the Saudi-Iranian relation. He added the golden opportunity to prove the sincerity of his intentions is by withdrawing Iranian troops from Syria.  Al-Faisal said Saudi Arabia and Iran restored their relations in 1995; however tensions have not been eased between the two countries.

Yemen to become six-region federation

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

A presidential panel has agreed to transform Yemen into a six-region federation as part of its political transition, state news agency Saba announced on Monday.  “The final approval” on creating a “federal state of six regions” came at a meeting of the committee, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and including representatives of Yemen’s main parties, Saba said.  Hadi formed the committee in late January at the end of a “national dialogue” to decide on the number of regions, and to insert it into the text of a new constitution, to be drafted and voted on within a year.

Kuwaiti opposition opposes Gulf security pact

Source: Middle East Monitor (Read full story)

Kuwaiti opposition parties have indicated that they will oppose the controversial Gulf security pact, arguing that it violates freedoms guaranteed by Kuwait’s Constitution. The controversy revolves around a clause requiring the extradition of citizens on the basis of charges rather than a final judicial ruling. The Kuwaiti parliament will discuss and vote on the pact on 3 March.  … The majority of Kuwait’s political factions have issued statements expressing their opposition to the agreement, including one group that supports a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) confederation.

Royal move to safeguard KSA unity, security

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

“The royal decree was aimed at realizing the Shariah’s objectives to safeguard the Muslim world’s unity, religion and security,” said the Cabinet, which was chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, at the Al-Yamamah Palace.  The decree was based on a Qur’anic verse that urges all Muslims to stand united. “It is also based on Islamic law, which stresses the need to develop guarantees to protect the state from violators of its constitutional system,” the Cabinet said. The decree also aims at protecting the country’s youth from foreign ideologies, it added.

Bilateral trade between Oman and Iran hits $600m

Source: Times of Oman (Read full story)

The bilateral trade between Oman and Iran has touched an unprecedented level of $600 million last year, from merely $200 million three years ago, Iranian Ambassador to the Sultanate Ali Akbar Sibeveih told journalists here yesterday.  Addressing the media ahead of his country’s National Day, he said the economic relation between the two countries is strong and the bilateral trade will grow further in the coming years. … “Apart from Khasab, Iranian companies are investing in Sohar and Duqm ports. We are going to invest $4 million in Duqm port,” he added.

Sheikh Khalifa becomes GCC Chambers chairman

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani received the chairmanship of  the Federation of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry from the Federation’s outgoing Chairman Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khanji, who is also President of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose term of office expires tomorrow.