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GCC working on economic packages for Bahrain, Oman

Gulf summit could be held to discuss Marshall Plan-style programme

Gulf News

Dubai: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plans to launch a massive Marshall Plan-style programme to assist Bahrain and Oman, a Kuwaiti daily reported yesterday.

Al Qabas said the GCC is working on raising the standard of living in both member states through massive aid packages.

A Gulf summit could be held to discuss the developments, the daily said, citing "highly-placed" sources that it did not name. Meanwhile, a Saudi official told AFP that a major cabinet reshuffle is expected in the kingdom.

"We can expect significant changes of some ministers," said the official, who declined to comment on speculation over whether Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and Oil Minister Ali Al Nuaimi will be replaced.

In Oman, protests continued yesterday with a gathering of Omanis in the Globe Roundabout in Sohar refusing to leave until their demands are met.

The protesters want restrictions on ministerial posts and monitoring of public expenditure.

In Bahrain, students staged a demonstration in front of the education ministry and the information affairs authority in Eisa Town ahead of another massive rally that was scheduled to be held later yesterday.

In Yemen, the opposition offered President Ali Abdullah Saleh a graceful exit through a roadmap for a smooth transition of power this year as two protesters were reportedly shot dead in southern Yemen. A hospital official said the deaths occurred during demonstrations in the town of Sadr.