Gulf joint monetary council to meet in March
Riyadh, February 9, 2010
Gulf central bank governors will hold the first meeting of their joint monetary council on March 30, the next step towards monetary union, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The governors of the four Gulf states planning monetary union -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait -- will discuss legal and administrative issues in order "to speed up the single currency," Abdulrahman Al Attiyah, the bloc's secretary-general, was quoted as saying by Qatar's state news agency QNA.
Rulers from the world's top oil exporting region endorsed the much-delayed monetary union in December despite the withdrawal last year of the United Arab Emirates -- the bloc's second-largest economy -- and Oman, which pulled out in 2006.
At the meeting, the governors will form a board of directors for the project, Attiyah said.
Attiyah said there was still hope the UAE, which opted out of the monetary union in May in protest over a decision to base the Gulf central bank in Saudi Arabia, would change its mind.
"We hope [the UAE] will return to the fold," QNA quoted him as saying.
The UAE's withdrawal dealt a serious blow to the project.
Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, an advisor to Qatar's ruler, told Reuters on Tuesday he thought the UAE would likely return to the project. "I have a feeling they'll come back," he said.
The GCC bloc abandoned last year an initial deadline for issuing common notes and coins in 2010, saying a joint monetary council would determine a new timetable for its issuance.
Al-Attiyah did not offer any indication as to whether this meeting would discuss a new timetable for the project. In January, a GCC official said the single currency could be launched in 2015. - Reuters