By Arab News
By Sharif M. Taha
Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdulatif Al-Zayyani said yesterday that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s proposal to move the GCC from a cooperation to a union would soon become reality.
Al-Zayyani, speaking on the 31st anniversary of the founding of the GCC, extended congratulations to the leaders of the member states on the occasion. The GCC was announced in Abu Dhabi on May 25, 1981.
The establishment of the council came in response to the dreams of leaders and reflects their belief that the organization would play a vital role in the current and future lives of their people, he said.
He said the GCC succeeded in surpassing all risks and difficulties and proved to all its durability, cohesion and continuity.
The GCC has increasingly become stable and sustained over time due to interchangeability of interests, especially in the era of regional and international groupings, he said.
As it enters its fourth decade, the GCC took important steps toward coordination, cooperation and integration between its member states, he said.
“Some of us see the implementation of these steps being slow or below expectations. However, the nature of joint work makes it difficult to go as fast as some people would want it,” he said.
Al-Zayyani said the blessings and welcome accorded by the GCC leaders to King Abdullah’s proposal to move the GCC from a cooperation to union confirms their belief in the importance of this goal and its positive impact on the security, well-being and prosperity of their people.
The GCC chief appreciated the 14th consultative meeting held in Riyadh on May 14, 2012, to study the feasibility of the king’s proposal.
He said the proposal, based on the objectives contained in the GCC’s basic rules, has a solid base that he said would facilitate the transition from ambition to reality.
A number of steps were realized in the area of GCC citizenship, such as equal opportunities in pre-university education, health services, free treatment in government hospitals, medical insurance coverage, property ownership, removal of customs duties, GCC railways project, GCC inter-electricity network, GCC common market, in addition to a series of systems in the area of education, heath, commerce, industry and investment.
The GCC countries are still working to boost the process of joint work to facilitate more integration between member countries, the GCC chief pointed out.