Interior ministers call for unified Gulf police

Decision will be endorsed by GCC foreign ministers ahead of a December 9 summit in Doha

Gulf News

Manama: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) interior ministers called for launching the procedures to set up the unified Gulf police.

The Interpol-like force will be headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi.

The GCC assistant secretary general for security affairs, Hazaa Al Hajiri, told Al Sharq Al Awsat daily that Mubarak Al Khiaili from the UAE would be the first president of the pan-Gulf force.

“The presidency will be rotating among the six GCC member states and that the term would be three years,” he said, quoted by the London-based daily.

The GCC, established in 1981, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The decision to set up the Gulf police would be endorsed by the foreign ministers as they meet in preparation for the GCC summit scheduled on December 9 in the Qatari capital Doha, Al Hajiri said on the sideline of the ministers’ meeting on Wednesday in Kuwait, the current chair of the GCC.

“The ministers agreed on the need to reinforce joint work to ensure further security and stability in the region,” Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, the GCC secretary general, said. “They also agreed on combating all criminal activities that target to undermine the security and safety of the Gulf societies,” he said.

An expert team from the GCC interior ministries had worked on the study to set up the Gulf police and reviewed all structural, organizational, financial and administrative aspects to launch the ambitious security plan, he said.

In November last year, the GCC interior ministers approved in Manama the establishment of the GCC police.

GCC officials said the police force would be similar to the Interpol and Europol in fighting crime and deterring threats.

“The purpose of having the unified police is to achieve greater coordination and better information sharing between the GCC countries,” Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, the GCC secretary-general, said. “There will be tasks similar to those of the Interpol, such as focusing on crimes that threaten the region, mainly organised and transnational crimes. There will be coordination with Interpol as an international agency,” he said.

Earlier, Al Zayani said the law enforcement force would be part of GCC plans to bolster cooperation between the member states against threats, risks and crimes.

“There is the GCC Emergency Risk Management Centre in Kuwait to assess risks and threats to the Gulf countries, and there is the anti-drugs centre in Qatar to protect the youth from this devastating addiction. Another centre will monitor all forms and types of radiation,” he said at the Gulf Strategic Conference in Bahrain.

“It is very important that GCC citizens feel the robust ties between them through the current and future GCC policies and the achievements that have been accomplished, including the common Gulf market and the economic citizenship that has allowed them to move, work, settle and own property in any of the GCC countries,” he said.

The GCC countries are well aware of the risks and threats that might undermine their stability and they believe that any attack on, or threat to, any of them is in fact to all of them, he added.

“The GCC countries have clearly and loudly called for shunning violence and avoiding bloodshed and the propagation of chaos and unrest,” he said.

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