Israeli raids on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and preparation for an emergency
meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo are high on the agenda of Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting scheduled later yesterday.
Leaders of the six GCC members will convene at the 29th annual summit in the
Omani capital of Muscat to discuss core regional security issues and economic
integration among the bloc, which groups six Gulf Arab states --Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.
According to sources familiar with the Omani officials, the six leaders will
discuss Israel's intensive strikes on the Gaza Strip,in order to reach a vision
that could contribute to helping the Arab action which seeks to stop Israeli
Israel has been carrying out unprecedented intensive airstrikes since
Saturday noon on Hamas movement targets in Gaza, killing 310 Palestinians till
now, most of them militants and wounding over 900 people.
The preparation for the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers due to be
held in Cairo on Wednesday is another top topic of the meeting.
Yesterday afternoon, foreign ministers of GCC member countries held a
closed-door meeting in preparation for the annual summit.
Following the meeting, Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah
said they will reach a vision that could contribute to a common the Arab action
to end Israeli raids, which will be presented at the emergency meeting of Arab
The Omani official also called on the Palestinian brothers to put aside their
differences so that "the Arab countries could help them and stand with them to
celebrate the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In a statement released on Saturday, GCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman
Al-Attiyah also urged the international community " immediately move to put an
end to the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza
The statement said that GCC member states support the Palestinian people to
regain their rights.
Besides the two topics which are not scheduled in the agenda, the Gulf
leaders will thrash out an array of issues, chiefly the situation in the
war-torn Iraq, Lebanon-Syria relations, and fighting against piracy off the
Somali coast near Yemen.
The leaders will also discuss the impact of global economic downturn on the
economies of the oil-rich GCC countries that pump about 16 million barrels of
crude oil per day and possess about 45 percent of the world's proven crude
Meanwhile, they are widely expected to announce a final roadmap for the Gulf
monetary union, which involves the framework of a unified Gulf monetary
authority and the single currency.