Bahrainis happy with summit gains

December 9, 2010

Bahrainis have hailed the success of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Abu Dhabi and particularly welcomed the endorsement of their candidate Abdul Latif Al Zayani to the post of secretary-general as a positive step towards achieving greater integration in the alliance.

“The agreement on Al Zayani consolidates an era of good feelings that we want to last much longer,” Jaber Mohammad, a media analyst, said. “That was one of the highlights of the summit communique alongside the decision to boost economic integration by allowing companies to avail of greater opportunities within the Gulf area,” he said.

For Jaber, even though the level of expectations cannot be particularly high in these “critical times”, the GCC should be lauded for enduring difficulties and challenges and remaining as a crucial factor of unity between the people in the six-member countries.

“There are some shortcomings and much more can be achieved, but we are pleased in Bahrain that we Gulf nationals have been able to maintain and gradually consolidate the spirit and mission of the council despite the heavy onslaught on the region,” he said.

The GCC was founded in 1981 in Abu Dhabi and few observers had expected it to last for three decades.

“Most of the leaders who were there when the GCC was founded is now alive, may God bless their soul,” said the analyst. “Yet, the alliance is moving forward despite two devastating wars in 1991 and 2003 in the region and military threats at the doors of one of the members. Summits are held regularly and even when there is no consensus, agreements are eventually reached. This is not given to any bloc in the Arab world,” he said.


Esam Fakhroo, the head of the Bahrain Chamber for Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said that the Abu Dhabi summit achieved a breakthrough in allowing Gulf companies to have branches in the member states and give them preferential treatment.

“It is a great move forward toward integration and robust relations between the citizens of the six member states,” he said. “The GCC summit has fortunately agreed to fulfill people’s ambitions and remove obstacles to a better integration that allows the free movement and residence of citizens and to engage in commercial or business activities without discrimination or exception,” he said.

Such steps will bring the people of the GCC closer and will consolidate the concept of a common Gulf market, he said.

“Now it is up to us Gulf citizens to multiply and diversify our efforts to achieve a complete Gulf economic citizenship and to build on the political will of our leaders to work together for the sake of our interests,” he said.

However, Fakhroo said there was a need to implement without delays the decisions to ease or remove customs obstacles within the Gulf.

“We are keen on increasing commercial exchange figures between the GCC countries and on ensuring higher levels of investment in the Gulf,” he said.



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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