Security tops GCC summit agenda

Dec 7, 2016

Manama — Leaders and heads of delegations of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries started the 37th session of the GCC Supreme Council here on Tuesday.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in Manama on Tuesday to head the Saudi delegation.

 Upon arrival at Al-Sukhir Air Base Airport, the King was received by King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

The other GCC leaders taking part in the summit are Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait; Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar; and Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Premier for Cabinet Affairs of Oman.

Security and greater integration top the agenda of the two-day summit which is taking place against the backdrop of challenges and political developments in the region.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa on Sunday said that one of the major topics on the table would be greater economic integration between the six member states.

Bahraini Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Humood Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said regional circumstances, growing conspiracies and terror plots give the summit a special importance as it reflects the resolve of the GCC leaders to overcome them and foster cooperation.

British Prime Minister Theresa May joined GCC leaders at the summit for talks on trade after Britain’s exit from the European Union. Defense ties are also expected to loom high on the agenda as Britain builds a new naval base in Bahrain.

She is the first British premier and the first woman to attend the annual summit of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states.

“I will have the opportunity to talk to all six leaders about how we can develop our trade relationship, as well as cooperation on security and defense,” May said ahead of her arrival in the Bahraini capital Manama late on Monday.

May will discuss the possibilities for post-Brexit free trade arrangements with the six GCC states. “As the UK leaves the EU, we should seize the opportunity to forge a new trade arrangement between the UK and the Gulf,” May said.

“This could transform the way we do business and lock in a new level of prosperity for our people for generations to come.”

Ahead of the summit, May held talks with Bahraini officials that also focused on defense ties, the official Bahrain News Agency reported.