Bahrain 'ready for GCC union'
Manama, December 17, 2013
His Majesty King Hamad, in a speech to the nation on Bahrain's National Day yesterday, stressed the kingdom's readiness for the announcement of a Gulf Union as a means of reaffirming the nation's "strong will and robust determination".
Bahrainis are celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by founder Ahmed Al Fateh, the 42nd anniversary of joining the UN as a full member and the 14th anniversary of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne.
His Majesty said he was looking forward to the call to hold a special GCC summit in Riyadh to announce the union, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
His Majesty spoke in the presence of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.
He said that he and GCC leaders discussed the issue of moving from the phase of co-operation to the phase of the union, and that they agreed to continue to work hard in this regard.
In his speech at Sakhir Palace, His Majesty emphasised the strengthening of Bahrain's national unity, Arab identity and Islamic heritage, "following the example of our forefathers in spreading the spirit of co-existence, love and tolerance among all the people of this good land of different faiths, without distinction or discrimination".
He added: "The policy of openness to the world, which we established in Bahrain, is a source of strength that enables us to benefit from successful experiences for the development of our national performance in various fields, helping build a strong economy and increasing GDP and sustainable development, which is reflected in the improvement of citizens' living standards and the provision of services such as health care, education and decent housing.
"We shall not forget, on this occasion, to thank our esteemed government, and we issue our directives for the construction of 40,000 new housing units in the shortest period possible, together with other related services, to provide a decent life and a suitable environment to distinguished citizens," he stated.
"On this glorious day, we are happy to thank all the personnel of the Bahrain Defence Force, the Public Security forces and the National Guard for their sincere efforts in maintaining the security and stability of our homeland.
"We also extend our congratulations to our armed forces and our loyal citizens for their stance towards the GCC leaders to create a unified military command for our armed forces to ensure joint defence work; and the establishment of a co-ordination centre for maritime security in Bahrain," he added.-TradeArabia News Service