Archive for category Gulf Cooperation Council

Yemeni president refuses to sign GCC deal

SANAA, May 22 (Xinhua) — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Sunday refused to sign a power-transition deal brokered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders, an aide to Saleh told Xinhua.

“President Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a short message to visiting GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani, telling him his final word that he refuses to sign the deal that requires his resignation within a month,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Source: Xinhua.

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Gulf Cooperation Council suspends mediation effort in Yemen

Vittorio Hernandez
Sanaa, Yemen
May 22, 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council suspended mediation efforts in Yemen because of the refusal of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign an agreement to step down from power.

The decision was the result of an emergency meeting among GCC foreign ministers who met Sunday in Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni opposition signed the deal on Saturday, but Saleh wanted a public signing ceremony at the presidential palace, which is surrounded by pro-Saleh armed supporters.

Saleh even warned of a civil war if opposition leaders refused to sign again the documents in a public ceremony. He said any subsequent civil unrest arising from the incident would be blamed on the opposition.

The agreement would have Saleh resign within 30 days, but provided him immunity from prosecution.

The civil unrest continued in Yemen as armed supporters of Saleh blockaded GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif Zayani and ambassadors from some Arab and western nations inside the United Arab Emirates embassy on Sunday. The foreign diplomats were airlifted out of the embassy.

On the same day, anti-government protesters held a rally at the Yemini capital city of Sanaa. The protestors threatened to step up pressure on Saleh to quit his post by threatening to march to government buildings. The protesters had done that in the past, which had cost about 140 lives.

Tribal leaders stations armed gunmen on main roads in anticipation of violence erupting in the strife-torn nation.

Source: All Headline News (AHN).

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Bahrain to fly GCC flag alongside its own

Habib Toumi, Bahrain Bureau Chief
May 22, 2011

The decision will come into effect on Wednesday at 10am.

Manama: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) flag will be flown along the Bahraini flag at the borders and in all places related to common GCC activities, the government said on Sunday.

The decision will come into effect on Wednesday at 10am, according to a statement released following the weekly meeting.

“The new flag rule is in line with the decision taken by the 31st GCC summit in Abu Dhabi,” the government said.

A large number of Bahrainis have been pushing for closer integration of their country in the six-member alliance that also includes Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The GCC was launched in 1981 in Abu Dhabi.

Source: Gulf News.

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Bahrain foreign minister floats plan to expand Gulf force

May 20, 2011

DUBAI: Bahrain’s foreign minister floated the idea of expanding military bases within a bloc of Sunni-led Gulf Arab allies that helped Manama quash mostly Shiite protests it blamed rival Shiite power Iran for stoking.

Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said in an interview with PBS Newshour Wednesday evening that concerns over Iranian interference may push the Gulf Cooperation Council to reshape its Gulf military presence.

“Any threat that any country would face would definitely, no doubt, affect its neighbors. Saudi Arabia is only 28 kilometers away from here. We are looking at the GCC force to be expanded, to have multi-bases everywhere in the GCC,” he told the U.S. television program. “So whether they leave or stay or be restructured, that’s what is to be discussed in the future.”

Bahrain’s Sunni rulers imposed emergency law and called in troops from neighboring countries in March to quash protests led mostly by its Shiite majority demanding reforms.

Sheikh Khalid told Newshour that Bahrain was getting a “daily barrage” of statements from Iran that worried the tiny Gulf island country.

“I can tell you that they have people sympathizing with them here,” he said, adding that not all Shiites were siding with Iran. “There’s definitely an Iranian interest group in Bahrain.”

Meanwhile, a military court Thursday sentenced nine people to 20 years in prison after they were convicted of kidnapping a policeman. One of the men sentenced was a prominent religious cleric and political activist.

International and local rights groups have criticized the government for the severity of its security sweep, in which masked troops manned checkpoints throughout the city and hundreds of people, mostly Shiite activists or politicians, were arrested. At least four detainees have died in custody.

Some 1,000 protesters in a Sunni neighborhood of Manama rallied Wednesday night but several religious clerics urged them to return home.

Some of the demonstrators vowed to gather again after prayers Friday, a day which has taken on great significance since pro-democracy protests began sweeping the Arab region. Protesters have used Friday prayers to mobilize larger crowds.

In his Newshour interview, Sheikh Khalid said that a security presence would still be high after emergency law is lifted despite the removal of tanks and military from the streets.

“There’s no doubt that the police will be on their toes 24/7, because the time just after June 1 … it’s a very delicate period we want to ensure nothing goes wrong and we don’t slide back to chaos.”

Source: The Daily Star.

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GCC mulls troops withdrawal from Bahrain

Jun 28, 2011

RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are discussing the possibility of withdrawing troops from Bahrain although no timeline has been decided so far, said a GCC official in Riyadh on Tuesday.

“The withdrawal, possibly to begin next week, will be done in consultation with the Gulf countries, mainly with Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

The official, who has intimate knowledge of the affairs of Gulf states, was reacting to reports that the Kingdom will withdraw most of its security forces from Bahrain starting on Monday after considering the current situation in the country.

The Saudi troops, part of the GCC Peninsula Shield, will be withdrawn starting on Monday, said a Reuters report posted online late Tuesday. The report said that all GCC troops would not leave at once.

On the other hand, a Saudi official was quoted by AFP as saying that the Gulf troops are to be redeployed. All troops will not be withdrawn because the danger is not yet over in Bahrain, said the AFP report.

About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain to protect government facilities early this year. Another member state, the UAE, backed Bahrain’s efforts to quell the violence in mid-March and sent some 500 police officers to the country, while Kuwait sent a small contingent of naval forces.

Referring to the common objective of the Gulf states that have signed an agreement to safeguard security and stability across the GCC region in a collective manner, the GCC official said that a process of national dialogue will begin in Bahrain on Saturday in a renewed bid to restore peace in the tiny Kingdom.

He said that normalcy in Bahrain was badly needed for the sake of revitalizing the economy including trade and tourism.

The state of emergency imposed by Bahraini rulers was lifted on June 1. Iran has been involving itself in the affairs of Bahrain and the GCC that eventually led to strained relations between Tehran and the Gulf bloc in recent months.

The troops sent by the Kingdom and the UAE within the framework of the common security program and the deployment of Peninsula Shield was approved by all Gulf states at that time. The Arab League also approved sending the troops into Bahrain.

Source: Arab News.

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GCC Civil Defense Chiefs meet in Kuwait

KUWAIT, June 29 (KUNA) — Twenty second four-day meeting of the Directors General of the Civil Defense Departments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Arab states started here Wednesday in the presence of Assistant Undersecretary of the Minisry of Interior for operational affairs Maj. Gen. Abdullah Youssef Al-Muhanna.



Al-Muhanna welcomed, at his opening address of the meeting, the participating delegations from other sisterly countries, and conveyed to them the greetings and appreciation of Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as well as greetings of Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lt. Gen. Ghazi Abdulrahman Al-Omar, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad, and their best wishes.



Meanwhile, Director General of the Civil Defense General Department, and head of the Kuwaiti delegation Maj. Gen. Youssef Al-Roudhan delivered an address in which he expressed Kuwait’s welcome to host such meeting, hailing the efforts made by GCC general secretariat for making preparations for the current meeting.



Al-Roudhan asserted that GCC ministers of interior attach great importance to the necessity of providing all means for civil defense along with supporting the systems and structures of civil protection in light of the accelerating variables, and the complicated conditions in the region and the world as a whole.



The meeting includes three working session covering the discussions held by specialized committees on safety, preventive supervision, training and rehabilition in the domain of civil defense, and there will be visits paid by meeting’s participants to the headquarters of the Civil Defense General Department in order to inspect systems and operational room there.



The Emirati delegation to the meeting is led by Maj. Gen. Rashed Thani Rashed Al-Matroushi with the membership of Brig. Jassem Abdullah Hamid, Lt. Col. Hassan Ali Bin Saram, Lt. Col. Sultan Saqr Al-Suwaidi, Maj. Yasser Eissa.



The Bahraini delegation to the meeting is led by Brig. Abdullah Nasser Al-Fadel with the membership of Col. Mohammad Abdulkarim Shuwaitar, Col. Hamad Abdullah Al-Meraj, first lieutenant Bader Abdulaziz Al-Amer.



The Saudi delegation to the meeting is led by Lt. Gen. Saad Bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri with the membership of Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bin Abdullah, Maj. Gen. Ismail Bin Mohammad Badawi, Brig. Ghaleb Bin Ghazi Al-Jahni, Col. Saleh Bin Ali Al-Ayed, Captain Mubarab Bin Ayad Al-Osaimi, and researcher Saad Bin Abdulrahman Al-Zayadi.



The Omani delegation to the meeting is led by Brig. Suleiman Bin Mohammad Al-Harithi with the membership of Lt. Col. Hamad Bin Rashed Al-Wahibi, Maj. Abdullah Bin Saleh, Fisrt Lt. Hani Bin Rashed.



The Qatari delegtion to the meeting is led by Brig. Abdullah Mohammad Al-Suwaidi with the membership of Col. Fahad Hamad, First Lt. Basaam Yakoub Al-Khaledi, Ahmad Khaled Al-Ghanem, and Abdulaziz Sultan Al-Hajeri.



The delegation of the State of Kuwait to the meeting is led by Maj. Gen. Al-Roudhan, Col. Mohammad Ali, Col. Saad Mohammad, Abdulaziz Ahmad, and from the Civil Defense General Department there are Brig. Youssef Abdullah Al-Ansari, Col. Ibrahim Eissa, Col. Jamal Bader, Lt. Col. Ahmad Hassan Al-Jazzaf, and Ahmad Fawzan Al-Fawzan.



The GCC general secretariat is participating with a delegation led by Col. Ahmad Bohendi, Ali Hassan Al-Nahwi, Sami Faraj Al-Otaibi, and liasion officer from the State of Kuwait Abdullah Eid Al-Mekhyal, and Maj. Abdullah Ali Rashed from the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Captain Majed Eissa Al-Ghanem from the State of Qatar.



On his part, Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, stressed the constant communication in the domain of security among the GCC Arab states in what embodies the spirit of fraternity and solidarity, and standardizes visions, strategies, plans, and programs for protecting the countries and citizens of GCC against various dangers.



Further, Al-Fahad conveyed to the participants the greetings and appreciation of Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and his best wishes for them to achieve through this meeting the GCC aspirations, pointing out the quantum leap made in the domain of civil defense in order to cement the national security capabilities in the face of the security developments in the GCC Arab region.



Al-Fahad also extended thanks to GCC Civil Defense Directors General for their efforts, while reiterating the importance of making further efforts in order to protect the security of their countries, and the safety of their citizens.



On their part, the GCC Civil Defense Directors General extended their thanks to Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad for the support lent to the meeting, and the hospitality.



Source: Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

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