Manama: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Monday said that he was looking forward to the call to hold the special Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit to announce the Gulf Union.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain is ready from this day for the declaration of the Union, to assert our firm will and our solid determination,” the king said during an address to the nation as Bahrainis celebrated National Days.
“We look forward to the call for a special Summit in Riyadh to announce the establishment of this Union,” he said.
Bahrain has been among the most enthusiastic members of the GCC in their support for the union.
The GCC, established in 1981 in Abu Dhabi, brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In December 2011, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud said that it was time for the GCC member states to move from the phase of cooperation to the phase of union within a single entity.
The six states welcomed the call, but some said they needed some time to look into the details. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been in the forefront for the transition to be announced at an extraordinary GCC summit in Riyadh.
However, earlier this month and three days before the annual GCC summit in Kuwait City, Yousuf Bin Alawi, Oman’s foreign minister, said in a rare public display of divergent views within the GCC, that his country was not interested in the Gulf union.
In his address, King Hamad said that the union issue was being actively considered by GCC leaders.
“As for the union, we have been deliberating with our brothers their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, on the subject of the transition from cooperation to union, and we agreed to continue to work hard in this regard,” he said.
Bahrainis on Monday and Tuesday are celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmad Al Fateh, the 42nd anniversary of the island country joining the United Nations as a full member and the 14th anniversary of the king’s accession to the throne,
“We underline the strengthening of our national unity, Arab identity and Islamic heritage, following the example of our fathers and forefathers in spreading the spirit of co-existence, love and tolerance among all the people of this good land of different faiths, without distinction or discrimination in our beloved country,” King Hamad said. “Today, thankfully, this blessed progress keeps moving forward, overcoming all odds thanks to your sincere will and loyalty and your love for Bahrain.
“The policy of openness to the world, which we established in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a source of strength that enables us to benefit from successful experiences for the development of our national performance in various fields, helping build a strong economy and increasing GDP and sustainable development, which is reflected in the improvement of citizens’ living standards and the provision of services such as health care, education and decent housing,” he said.
King Hamad said that he gave directives on the national occasion “for the construction of 40,000 new housing units with other related services in the shortest period possible”.