Prince Khalifa with Prince Salman in Jeddah. The two leaders met in the Red Sea resort city on Tuesday. Image Credit: EPA

Manama: Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have stressed the need to speed up the process to move the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) from the phase of cooperation to the phase of a union.

Bahraini’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz said that the union between the GCC states was an issue of destiny that could not be postponed, particularly in light of the challenges lurking in the region.

The two leaders who met in the Red Sea resort city of Jeddah on Tuesday evening said that the GCC leaders should hold meetings “in order to have more consultations and coordination regarding various political, security and economic coordination matters”.

The threats to the region require prompt measures towards a union and common action that should satisfy the aspirations of the people in the region to live in security and dignity, they said, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

The two leaders said that security and stability in the region could be reinforced through a comprehensive vision that includes the necessary measures to protect Gulf and Arab interests from the fast-developing events and new challenges.

Such threats to the GCC states and people require common measures that would rise to the challenges, they said.

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in December 2011 called on the GCC states to move from the phase of cooperation to the phase of union within a single entity.

The GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, was established in 1981 in Abu Dhabi.

King Abdullah’s call at the GCC summit was welcomed by the six member states, but some of them requested more time to study the finer details.

Officials in Riyadh and Manama in particular have been openly enthusiastic about the union and Bahrain has often said that it was ready to join the union.

Prince Khalifa has regularly stressed the significance of moving forward towards the union.

Observers said that some of the GCC countries could set up a core union of some of the six member states and that the other members could join at their own pace.