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Bahrain endorses Gulf security treaty draft

Pact calls on GCC states to preempt interference in affairs of other members

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:11 November 12, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manama: A security treaty draft that allows the tracking down of lawbreakers and wanted people across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries regardless of their nationalities has been endorsed by Bahrain.

“The Cabinet reviewed a memorandum from the Interior Ministry on the GCC security draft and approved it,” Yasser Al Nasser, the Cabinet secretary general, said following the session on Sunday.

The draft aims at reinforcing security cooperation and coordination between the six member countries of the GCC, Al Nasser said.

Under the treaty, each GCC country is bound to take legal action — based on its own legislation — against citizens or residents who interfere in the domestic affairs of another member. The member countries will also exchange information and expertise to combat all forms of crime, the draft stated.

The security treaty could be taken up by the GCC leaders when they convene for their annual summit in December in Bahrain. In May, the leaders endorsed an agreement to promote collective security.

The initial security agreement was announced in Manama in December 1994, but only Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman endorsed it at the time. Qatar entered the pact in 2009. The GCC leaders, at their 2010 summit in Kuwait, called for building on the understanding by putting it to a committee of experts and specialists from the GCC countries.

On Saturday, Gazi Al Omar, Kuwait’s interior ministry assistant undersecretary, announced that the final draft was ready and would be reviewed by the interior ministers. “The interior ministry undersecretaries have discussed the final draft and it was forwarded to the interior ministers who will review it when they convene,” he said.

The GCC is going through critical times that require a unification of the policies, plans and implementation strategies of security agencies of member states, the official was quoted as saying by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

The move would help the GCC cope with national security issues that had cropped up as a consequence of wide-ranging events across the region, Al Omar said. “We call for new coordination measures and tools for follow-up and prompt reactions in [keeping] with the emergency security developments and events within the GCC,” he said. “This can be achieved through unifying policies and joint action plans, the exchange of information and data and bringing viewpoints closer on the impact of these events on the national security of the member states and on the adequate measures to deal with them.”

It may be recalled that GCC secretary-general Abdul Latif Al Zayani had announced following the 14th GCC Consultative summit in May in Riyadh that all the member countries had approved the accord and that the leaders had instructed their respective interior ministers to sign it.

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