Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) should be expanded to include Iran and Iraq, Korean official says

June 6, 2010

The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) should be expanded to include larger countries such as Iran and Iraq, South Korea’s former minister of foreign affairs and trade has said.

Such a move would mean wider representation of the Gulf region and a stronger say in the international arena, while smaller countries, such as Qatar, would have an important supporting role in “positively” influencing the West Asian issues, Song Min-Soon said.

“The GCC all together is not a major player here. You need to include Iran and Iraq within its framework,” the former official said. “Without Iran and Iraq in the Gulf area, one cannot really say that the GCC is representing the Gulf area,” Song Min-Soon said, quoted by Qatari daily Gulf Times.

The expanded GCC is also good for countries like Qatar, he said, and referred to the case of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN.

“Singapore, which is a small country like Qatar, is surrounded by bigger countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. But it is quite strong in voicing for institutionalising and strengthening ASEAN framework whose aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural protection and the protection of peace and stability,” said the former minister who was in Qatar to address the Doha Forum.

“Gulf countries should evolve … It is a sort of incremental approach… For external security, the countries over here should have more aggressive approach,” he said.

The GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, was formed in 1981 in Abu Dhabi as a loose political, social, economic and military alliance. No new member has been admitted since it was formed almost 30 years ago, although Yemen was accorded some privileges.

Min-Soon said that the recent tripartite agreement between Brazil, Turkey and Iran on the nuclear deal, even though it was not up to the US expectations, “deserves to be carefully pursued” because a very small initial step is very useful for confidence building.

He stressed that the Palestinian and Israel issues were very complex and multi-decade old and “a solution cannot be expected overnight.”

Min-Soon, now member of National Assembly and of the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, said that he did not expect North Korea to pre-empt the G20 summit to be held in Seoul in November.





About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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