Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla
Oman pulls out of Gulf Union plans
Manama, December 8, 2013
By Sandeep Singh Grewal
Oman will not be part of the proposed Gulf Union as there are other important issues for the Sultanate that needed to be addressed, said its Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla yesterday (December 7) at the ongoing Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain.
The Gulf Union was first mooted by Saudi monarch King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the GCC Summit in Riyadh in 2011, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Bahrain has been one of the key drivers of the plan, which would involve increased military, economic, political and security ties, to protect "landmark achievements."
But speaking during a session about the evolving regional security architecture, conflicts and outside powers, the Omani Foreign Affairs Minister said the Sultanate had no desire to be part of the union.
"We do not want to be part of the GCC union as it is not feasible to us," Abdulla later told reporters.
"We just can't do it. There are other important issues that require to be addressed such as economic integration that will bring prosperity to its people and unemployment issue."
Abdulla also rejected the assertion that GCC countries are facing major threats to their security.
"The perception that GCC countries face imminent threat is myopic," he said.
GCC secretary-general Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani later said Oman's decision would not stop the remaining five states from pressing ahead with the planned union.
"The level of frankness and respect to the ideas of all member states can be seen from an open minded statement by the Omani Foreign Minister at this platform of the Manama Dialogue," he said.
"GCC will continue to be open and objective in its approach by reaching on common grounds including the proposed GCC Union," he added.
The three-day summit, organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa. - TradeArabia News Service