Abu Dhabi: Heads of state of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will meet next month-end to discuss the final report of the commission set up to study the proposal for member-states to form a Gulf Union.
GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif Al Zayani told Gulf News that, following a meeting of GCC leaders in Riyadh last December, which recommended that the bloc should move from "a state of cooperation to union", the member-states started discussions to speed up the process by forming committees to carry out studies.
"We are upbeat about the next phase. The coming meeting in May will study the recommendations of shifting from cooperation to union," stressed Al Zayani, who is taking part in the 40th meeting of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Abu Dhabi.
"The GCC has lasted about three decades and during our meetings we highlighted the need to shift from a cooperation to a union to respond to the increasing threats," he remarked.
"Unity is deemed a strategic need and requisite. It helps us to establish a union which is powerful in various fields."
"It helps pave the way for the smooth flow of capital throughout the GCC countries, leading to economic and trade growth and development," he added.
"The GCC states have outlined main goals to protect themselves from any threat - either an external attack or a terrorist act or organised crime," Al Zayani said.
Such a union will play a key role in shaping the region's future. Therefore, it is fundamental to work on it to genuinely to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the GCC states, demanded Al Zayani.
Al Zayani said: "We have already started the implementation of a number of important and strategic projects towards integration. We started transport network among the GCC states, common market, customs union, monetary union, power grid and in the coming few years, we will start the railway network."
He called on GCC states and the private sector to strengthen mutual coordination and cooperation to further boost economic growth.
For his part, Mohammad Thani Al Rumaithi, head of UAE chamber of commerce and industry, said that the chambers of commerce and industry in the GCC should be involved in meetings between the government and the private sector.
Bahrain suggested the foundation of a body to be in charge of monitoring shipping and transportation amongst the GCC borders in order to help solve the problem of truck pile-ups on check points.
"We have suggested to form this body in order to help decrease the waiting time which helps decrease the cost of goods transported from one country to another as time is money," Abdul Hakeem Al Shammari, board member and head of the Joint Committee with Customs in Bahrain, told Gulf News.