Oman "will withdraw" from GCC over security pact

Foreign Minister says Oman can't justify strengthening security ties with five other Gulf Cooperation Council states, will withdraw if plan goes ahead
By Abdul Rawuf
Sun 08 Dec 2013 10:40 AM

Oman will pull out of the Gulf Cooperation Council if a proposal to boost security collaboration between the six members goes ahead, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Two years ago, Saudi Arabia called for increased military, economic, political and security ties during a meeting between the six nations – which also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar.

Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar have expressed their support for the idea, while the UAE has not yet publicly commented.

But Omani Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla said the Gulf neighbours needed to focus on boosting economic ties.

The Gulf was not under imminent threat of a military attack and therefore Oman could not justify greater security cooperation, he said.

“We will not prevent a union, but if it happens we will not be part of it,” Alawi told AFP in the lead up to the GCC Summit, to be held in Kuwait on Tuesday.

If the proposal went ahead, “we will simply withdraw” from the new body, he said.

"We do not want to be part of the GCC union as it is not feasible to us," he said.

"We just can't do it. There are other important issues that require to be addressed such as economic integration that will bring prosperity to its people and [the] unemployment issue.

"The perception that GCC countries face imminent threat is myopic.”

GCC secretary-general Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani said Oman's opposition would not prevent the other five states from forming a union.

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