GCC failed to satisfy citizens: TV debate


The show that hosted the GCC Secretary General H E Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah was attended by Qatari students from various universities in the country.

The programme, sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, ended with a voting on whether the GCC has realised the aspirations of their citizens. Fifty nine per cent of the participants said no while the remaining 49 per cent voted in favour.

A number of issues discussed in the recently held GCC Summit in Doha were raised by the participants during the show.

Asked if there was any agreement with Iran on economic co-operation, Al Attiyah said, Iran had requested the GCC secretariat to start negotiations on a free-trade agreement.

“Iran had several proposals on economic and security co-operation. GCC will study these proposal seriously under one condition that the occupied islands will be handed over to the UAE," said Al Attiyah.

The islands were clearly occupied by Iran and Iran had refused several proposals to negotiate the issue in a civilized way, he added.

On concerns among some GCC nationals and expatriates that naturalised Iranians in the GCC countries pose a threat to their security, Al Attiyah said, "GCC nationals, regardless of their sectarian background have common characteristics. They are obliged to preserve the security and stability of their respective countries. Besides, there are security agreements between the GCC countries to combat terrorism and attempts to destabilise the member countries."

He added that GCC countries will never handover a citizen to another country for trial under any pressure.

On the GCC common currency, Al Attiyah said, " I hope to retire from my post as secretary general with the GCC common currency in hand." He was referring to 2010 target set for achieving the common currency.

In replying to query about the GCC custom union, Al Attiyah said, all the member countries had agreed to remove their independent customs centres by the end of 2008, leading way to the establishment of unified customs. When this is achieved, it will ensure the free flow of goods among the GCC countries and revenues collected as customs tariffs will be divided among the member countries.

He said the most important and historic decision at the summit was to set up the Gulf Common Market. GCC citizenship will be realized through this common market as well as equal treatment among nationals of all member countries during travel, residence, educational and social services, investment opportunities etc.

He also stressed the need for joint GCC media programme targeting children and families. In order to realise greater coordinaton among the official media organisations in the member countries, a joint media corporation and Gulf TV has been set up.


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