Gulf ministers pledged $20bn in financial aid for protest-hit states Oman and Bahrain in Riyadh on Thursday in a bid to rein in the unrest sweeping parts of the Arab world
The GCC council said it would allocate $10bn each to its poorer neighbouring states to be paid over 10 years; a move it hopes will quell the protests that have torn through Bahrain and Oman in recent weeks.
An aid committee representing the six states will meet in two weeks to discuss allocation of the funds.
The bloc also issued a statement warning that it would not allow any foreign meddling in Gulf affairs, as fears of unrest spreading to oil giant Saudi Arabia sends global oil prices soaring.
Bahrain and Oman have fought to allay unrest by rolling out new economic measures including improved wages and social benefits. But neither country has the massive oil wealth or economic power of neighbouring Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar or the UAE.
Saudi Arabia has been quick to unveil economic benefits worth around $37bn in a bid to quash rumblings in its massive, young population.
The UAE, home of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has pledged to spend $1.6bn on overhauling key infrastructure and housing in its poorer, northern emirates.
The combined economies of Bahrain and Oman are less than a fifth of that of Saudi Arabia and the aid package will offer a major boost to their budgets.
The funds will likely be used to create jobs and increase salaries for the young, who claim they lack opportunities and a say in government affairs.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.