Gulf: GCC summit, mystery over Egypt agreement

Iran and Arab Spring on agenda for next week's meeting

13 December, 17:12

(ANSAmed) - DUBAI, DECEMBER 13 - Iran and the Arab Spring will be the central issues at the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which will be held in Riyadh on December 19 and 20, while Egypt's entry into the council of oil-rich monarchies remains in doubt, amid contrasting rumours and denials.

Humoud al-Radhwan, who is in charge of GCC affairs at Kuwait's Foreign Ministry, has told the Al Rai newspaper that "Egypt has prioirity in the list of countries that will join the GCC".

But the secretary of the GCC's political affairs commission, has denied that the issue has even been discussed by the group's member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman. "We have never heard such a proposal," said Sa'as al-Ammar, in an interview with the Gulf News paper. "It has never been discussed within the Council". Al-Ammar's comments were echoed by two other GCC officials, who asked to remain anonymous.

In May, the GCC secretary general, Abdelatif Zayani, said that he was "favourable to demands by Jordan and Morocco to join the Council" and that he had tasked Foreign Ministers from the block of countries to open talks.

Even at the time, public opinion and analysts had drawn a line between the Hashemite kingdom, which has close historical.

cultural and traditional ties with the Gulf states, and Morocco, which is distant both geographically and historically. At the height of the Arab Spring, the fact that Morocco is a monarchy was seen as a positive aspect by the oil-rich kingdoms. While the two countries will have to wait at least another two years to enter the council, Yemen has been hit with a delay until at least 2016. (ANSAmed).

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