GCC bank location to remain Riyadh - Saudi minister

No change on bank location despite UAE withdrawal from union over issue.
GCC bank location to remain Riyadh - Saudi minister
By Joanna Hartley
Mon 01 Jun 2009 07:36 AM

The location of the GCC central bank is to remain Riyadh despite the UAE’s pull out of the monetary union programme over the decision, according to a Saudi minister on Sunday.

Ebrahim Al Assaf, the Saudi Finance Minister, said in an interview with Reuters that his country and three other Gulf states would proceed with the monetary union plan, without UAE and Oman – that withdrew in 2007.

Asked if the location of the central bank was open to renegotiation, Al Assaf said: "No. There is a decision that has been taken by our leaders."

His comments came the day after the Saudi foreign minister met with UAE president Sheikh Khalifa in Abu Dhabi.

However, it was not clear whether Prince Saud Al Faisal discussed the single currency from which the UAE withdrew two weeks ago claiming it would make more sense to locate the central bank in the Emirates.

According to WAM news agency the two discussed “the fraternal relations and ways of bolstering them in all fields, as well as a number of regional and international issues of common interest”.

Last week the UAE Central Bank governor ruled out any “negotiations” over the issue, or a move to rejoin the monetary union.

But days later Saudi’s King Abdullah suggested that the problem would be resolved and the UAE would once again be part of the plans.    

The four remaining countries, Saudi, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait are due to meet on June 7 to sign the monetary union agreement, the GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said at a meeting of GCC finance ministers in Muscat on Saturday.

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