Gulf in the News – September 27, 2013

3rd US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum

Source: SUSRIS (Read full story)

A joint communique from the second ministerial meeting of the U.S.-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum, on October 1, 2012, described the purposes of the effort: “The Forum was launched in March 2012 to deepen strategic cooperation and coordination of policies to advance shared political, military, security, and economic interests in the Gulf region, foster enhanced stability and security throughout the Middle East, and strengthen the close ties between the GCC and the United States.” Aluwaisheg said the move probably reflected Washington’s recognition of the growing role of the GCC and its increased cohesiveness, coupled with the heightened threats in the region.

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Gulf in the News – September 25, 2013

Discussions continue on GCC security agreement

Source:Kuwait Times (Read full story)

MP Khalil Al-Saleh urged the parliamentary foreign affairs committee not to rush its report on the GCC security agreement until they ensured it matched Kuwait’s constitutional regulations. Al- Saleh also told reporters that the agreement would be discussed today and that all security-related bodies should be invited to the meeting, namely the ministers of foreign affairs and interior. He also wondered why it took the government so long to endorse it if it did not contradict the Constitution. “This treaty includes disastrous articles”, he underlined reminding that until last May when some of its articles were amended, Kuwait was the only GCC country that did not sign the treaty approved in Riyadh in 1994 as some of its articles contradicted Kuwait’s Constitution.

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Gulf in the News – September 24, 2013

Kerry thanks UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah

Source: The National (Read full story)

The US secretary of state John Kerry has thanked Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, for the UAE’s support for efforts to hold Bashar Al Assad accountable for using chemical weapons in Syria, as well as its backing for peace negotiations in Geneva to end the civil war there. During bilateral talks on Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Kerry also affirmed the importance of Washington’s insistence on a binding, verifiable removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, a US state department official said. Mr Kerry met officials from a number of Arab countries to discuss issues likely to be addressed by the US president Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, including Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

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Gulf in the News – September 23, 2013

King Abdullah lends new dimension to unification

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

 The Kingdom’s National Day, celebrated on Sept. 23, has come a long way in broadening the concept of unification over the years.  Though it meant unifying the disparate sheikhdoms into territorial integrity under its founder, late King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, its implications across the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum, however, were not lost on the successive rulers in the House of Saud. It was Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah who fine-tuned the definition of unification as an operating philosophy. After all, a country’s unity and territorial integrity demands that the various elements involved in holding it together — from demographic to socio-economic — should also be reinforced in the national interest.

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Gulf in the News – September 13, 2013

Republic of Yemen could soon be no more

Source: The National (Read full story)

Delegates at reconciliation talks in Yemen have agreed in principle to move the country from a republic to a federal system. Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, this week said the delegates had agreed to the idea of adopting a federal system in his country of 25 million people. Yemen has been a republic since 1990, when it was created out of the merger of independent states in the north and south. But under the new system, political power would devolve to regions, governorates and states, with the central government keeping control over vital portfolios such as defence and the country’s currency. Key details for the move remain to be ironed out as the talks near their scheduled end next week.

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Gulf in the News – September 12, 2013

U.S. ties in Persian Gulf at risk as Obama allows space for Russian-Syrian plan

Source: The Washington Post (Read full story)

“The gulf feels misled,” said Mustafa Alani, a Geneva-based security analyst with the Gulf Research Center, referring to the U.S. shift. “Certainly, there’s a fear that this means Iran will be much stronger. Strategically speaking, the Iranian position is going to be enhanced in the region.” One of the main worries for the Gulf Cooperation Council, he added, is “that Syria and its allies have gained the upper hand.” At a summit of the council’s six member countries in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday night, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa called for “deterrent measures” against Syria, telling reporters that the Russian proposal is “all about chemical weapons but does not stop the bloodshed.”

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Gulf in the News – September 11, 2013

GCC welcomes transfer of Kuwaiti prisoners’ file

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

GCC foreign ministers welcomed UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2107 which referred the file of missing Kuwaiti and thirdcountry nationals and Kuwaiti properties under UNAMI’s responsibility. Resolution 2107, adopted on July 24, extended mandate of UN Assistance Mission for Iraq until July 31 2014, “acknowledging” its responsibility in future to handle the missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the Kuwaiti property, mainly the national archive. This change formally transferred the two Kuwait files to UNAMI, under Chapter VI, instead of Chapter VII, and put an end to the post of the High-Level Coordinator which was created in 1999. The UNSC resolution is the “fruit of positive development of relations between the State of Kuwait and Iraq, and the exchange of visits between officials of the two countries, and the outcome of these visits of the signing of important agreements over bilateral issues and international obligations,” the foreign ministers said in a statement following their one-day meeting.

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Gulf in the News – September 10, 2013

Gulf ministers to weigh measures against Syria

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

The GCC supports taking international measures ‘to deter the Syrian regime’.  Foreign ministers of the Gulf states will meet on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia to discuss measures against Syria, as Washington drums up support for its plan to strike Damascus, a diplomat said. Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council “support taking international measures to deter the Syrian regime”, the diplomat told AFP on Monday. The ministers will meet in Saudi Arabia’s western port city of Jeddah. The GCC, which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has openly voiced support for the rebellion against President Bashar Al Assad.

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