GCC leaders to discuss Gaza at economic summit
Muscat, December 28, 2008
Israel's attack on Gaza will be a new top entry on the agenda of an economic summit of Gulf Arab leaders next week, an Omani minister said on Sunday.
The main topics of the annual summit of the GCC countries on Monday and Tuesday were initially to sign monetary union accords and discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on the region.
'The issue will impose itself on the agenda. The events of yesterday will have their deserved place in the discussions,' information minister Hamad al-Rashdi told Reuters.
More than 270 Palestinians were killed in 24 hours of Israeli attacks in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials said on Sunday.
The head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc that groups Washington's regional allies, on Saturday described the attacks as 'barbaric' and 'ugly', and Saudi Arabia urged its ally the United States to intervene to end Israel's attack on Gaza.
US President George W. Bush's administration said Palestinian militant group Hamas was responsible for 'breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza'.
The GCC meeting could be followed by an Arab summit in the Qatari capital Doha on Friday, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said on Sunday, citing an Arab League official.
Qatar and Syria have called for an emergency meeting of Arab leaders. The Arab League has delayed until Wednesday an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers called to discuss Israeli attack because many of them were busy in separate meetings of two Arab regional groups - the GCC and the Maghreb Union.
Among the other concerns Gulf leaders will face at their summit in the Omani capital Muscat is the oil price collapse, the credit crunch which is derailing expansion projects, and a slump of as much as 73 percent on Gulf bourses this year.-Reuters