Qatar Prime Minister calls for setting up pan-Gulf organisation

February 13, 2013

Qatar’s prime minister has called for establishing an organisation of the countries bordering the Arabian Gulf.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has problems with some of the Gulf states, but our issues can be settled through a constructive dialogue, the adoption of diplomacy and the reinforcement of mutual trust,” Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani said in Kuwait City where he attended an international forum.

The First International Conference of the Arab and International Relations Council was held on Monday under the theme “The Arabs and world: Future Perspective.”

The six Arab countries with coastlines on the Arabian Gulf are already under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a loose political, economic and social alliance set up in 1981 in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

The GCC that brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and holds regular biannual meetings has made history by being the only Arab alliance to withstand the pressure of time and other formidable challenges and continue to thrive amid talks that it could be turned into “a union within a single entity” as proposed by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in December 2011.

Some of its members have had deep political divergences with Iran on the eastern shore of the Gulf and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have accused the regime in Tehran of “blatant interference” in their domestic affairs while the UAE has been pushing for a peaceful settlement of the issue of its three islands occupied by the Iranians.

However, the GCC have invariably insisted at international forums and during talks on the significance of positive and fruitful relations between all the countries that border the Arabian Gulf.

Statements made by Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani at teh forum (based on reports in Kuwaiti dailies Al Jareeda and Al Sabah):


Arab countries should forge closer relations with one another. Even if language, religion and geography do not bring us together, at least let our common interests bring us closer.


The three divine religious were revealed in the Arab world, an area where most energy resources exist.


The first steps towards genuine reforms in the Arab world to become it more efficient and to be able to influence the international community start with each state fixing its own domestic issues. It is not necessary to start a revolution to reform them.


The Arab media need to improve themselves to be able to address the world and cover events unfolding in the Arab world according to high standards. This calls for establishing an Arab news agency to cover our events in a credible way without distortion  or clutter.


Through the settlement of the Palestinian cause, most Arab complexities will be resolved and foreign relations will improve.


Israel needs to appreciate that it cannot go on occupying Arab lands for ever.

If we want the international community to respect us, we must first respect ourselves and our people and fulfill their legitimate aspirations, unlike what the Syrian regime is doing to its people.


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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