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GCC security to top Manama Dialogue

Shifting military balance, global security priorities for US to be reviewed by experts

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:26 August 22, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: The widening international security relationships of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be among the top themes to be discussed at an international security conference to be held in Bahrain this year.

The Manama Dialogue, an inter-governmental summit that brings together scores of international ministers and senior civilian and military officials, will also review on December 6-8 the dangers of sectarianism and extremism in politics, the geopolitics of energy security in the Middle East and GCC military cooperation and regional security.

The GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was established in 1981.

The shifting military balance in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, the global security priorities for the US, Syria and the regional impact, intervention and mediation in defence diplomacy, and international interests in Middle East security will be discussed at the plenary sessions of the event.

The regional security summit will be the ninth to be co-organised by the Bahraini foreign ministry and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) since 2004 when it was launched.

The event has been regularly used by diplomats and national security leaders from the Gulf, the Middle East, North America, Europe and Asia to consult bilaterally and multilaterally on the key security and foreign policy challenges at the time.

“The Manama Dialogue offers an opportunity for public policy statements and private strategic debate,” IISS said.

“The engagement of responsible members of the analytical community, business leaders, former officials and influential media ensures open discussions and can offer wider support and understanding in influential circles of evolving government policy. The Manama Dialogue is a crucial pillar of the regional security architecture. It is independent, fair and transparent.”

IISS Director-General and Chief Executive John Chipman said that the Manama Dialogue offered an opportunity for public policy statements and private strategic debate.

“The engagement of responsible members of the analytical community, business leaders, former officials and influential media ensures open discussions, and can offer wider support and understanding in influential circles of evolving government policy,” he said.

Last year, the main speakers were William Burns, US deputy secretary of state, John McCain, ranking member of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, then Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs and Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of foreign Affairs.

Other speakers were Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), William Hague, UK secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs and Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s minister of foreign affairs.

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