Oman opposes Saudi calls to upgrade the Gulf Cooperation Council to a union of six states, but says it will not prevent such move.
Muscat had expressed reservation about the union idea before, but this was the first time that it bluntly rejected it, with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi said during the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain: “We are against a union.”
“Our position is a positive one, not negative. We are against a union but we will not prevent it,” Alawi added.
However, the foreign minister noted that if the five other GCC members — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — decide to form a union, “we will simply withdraw” from the new body.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was scheduled to discuss the idea during a summit in Kuwait on Tuesday.
Alawi was speaking in the Middle East security conference on Saturday after Saudi Assistant Foreign Minister Nizar Madani in a speech called on Gulf states to unify against “dangers in the region.”
The annual forum was attended by senior world officials including British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.
Riyadh’s idea of upgrading the GCC was first proposed in 2011 and supported by Bahrain. But because of reservations by some members, it was put on hold.
Kuwait and Qatar have since expressed their backing, but the UAE’s position on the proposal is not known.
|09-12-2013 – 13:53 Last updated 09-12-2013 – 13:53|