Manama: Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber has announced that Kuwait would host a humanitarian aid donor conference for the Syrian people by the end of January.

The Emir made the announcement as he gave a speech at the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Bahrain.

“It gives me pleasure to announce that in response to a proposal from HE the Secretary General of the United Nations to host a humanitarian aid donor conference to support the Syrian people, Kuwait has agreed to host the conference at the end of January,” Shaikh Sabah said. “The conference will be about providing humanitarian aid. Your support and your contributions to the conference will be a crucial factor in alleviating the suffering that we seek to relieve off the Syrian people,” the Emir said.

The situation in Syria was expected to dominate the GCC talks on the latest regional and international developments.

In his speech, Shaikh Sabah hailed the widening international recognition of the of the recently formed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

The six GCC countries earlier this month said that they accepted the nomination of a representative of the Syrian opposition coalition to the Council.

In his opening remarks, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa said that the summit, the 33rd in the history of the alliance formed in Abu Dhabi by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 1981, would continue its forward-looking movement to be able to tackle the challenges facing our countries.

“The summit is an addition to the building process of this majestic edifice to fulfill the aspiration of our people for a secure umbrella that will provide protection for our peoples,” King Hamad said. “The achievements accomplished by our Council since it was established will, with the will of God, lead to integration and the union,” he said.

A stronger GCC will reinforce joint Arab action for the sake of a better Arab future, King Hamad said as he opened the sixth GCC summit to be hosted by Bahrain.

Ways to provide a strong impetus for closer and stronger ties between the member countries figure high on the two-day agenda amid louder calls by GCC citizens for more concrete steps towards greater economic integration and a union.

Despite statements that the union proposed at last year’s summit by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz will not likely be among the summit topics, several Bahrainis and Gulf nationals in Manama said that the relatively long history of the alliance and the common social, economic, religious and social factors in the GCC states should stimulate their union.