Bahrain to host key GCC-EU talks
Manama, June 29, 2013
Growing ties between GCC countries and the EU will come under the spotlight at a ministerial meeting in Bahrain tomorrow.
The Joint Ministerial Council Meeting will be chaired by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, with the participation of the EU Higher Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Katherine Ashton, as well as foreign ministers of the GCC and EU states.
The meeting is part of a long series of ministerial meetings held over 23 years since the signing of the Co-operation Agreement Framework in 1988 between the two sides to establish contractual relationships, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The aim is to contribute to strengthening comprehensive co-operation between the groups, two of the largest economic and trade blocs, as well as support their development according to economic foundations based on mutual interests.
The talks confirm the political will on both sides to expand the circle of political co-operation, trade and economic ties.
It is also considered as an important tool to deepen mutual understanding and strengthen strategic relations, especially on regional and international issues like the Syrian crisis and the importance of reaching a comprehensive political solution.
This is in addition to reviving the peace process in the Middle East and the crisis in Yemen, which is witnessing Gulf and European co-operation to consolidate security and stability.
Other issues include Iran and its controversial nuclear programme, piracy that threaten international navigation and terrorism.
The EU described the joint work with the GCC as being "successful and useful".
"The joint blueprint has provided a practical framework for joint activities and will contribute to boosting co-operation in all fields," said Michael Maan, chief spokesperson to Ashton.
He described the Gulf region as a "vital trade hub" and asserted the EU's commitment to the establishment of a free-trade agreement with the GCC states.-TradeArabia News Service