GCC Eyes Expanding Peninsula Shield Force

Arab News26.05.2011 UAE
GCC Eyes Expanding Peninsula Shield Force

GCC Eyes Expanding Peninsula Shield Force

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A proposal to expand the joint force of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called Peninsula Shield is currently being reviewed by the Gulf governments with an aim to boost indigenous capability to deter any external threat or aggression.

“The plan is at a preliminary stage being discussed by member countries,” said a GCC Official speaking on the occasion of the bloc’s 30th anniversary celebrations that kicked off Tuesday.

“The proposal calls for expanding the Peninsula Shield and stationing the troops in each of the 6 member countries,” said the official, while referring to the remarks made by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa.

At the moment, the Peninsula Shield has about 40,000 troops and continues to have its permanent base at King Khaled Military City near Hafr Al-Batin in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the occasion, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani announced that the GCC flag will be unfurled together with the national flags of the GCC countries at all land, air and sea ports of the member countries beginning yesterday.

“This hoisting of the GCC flag will send a message of unity among the member countries,” said Al-Zayani, adding: “This six-nation group had marched from strength to strength in all sectors, unifying their positions and boosting their capabilities.”

He said that some of the most important achievements of the GCC include the creation of the Peninsula Shield Force and the signing of an intelligence-sharing pact in 2004.

At a GCC summit in December 2009, an agreement was reached to launch a single regional currency similar to the euro, a project on which the member countries have made significant progress despite some differences.

Referring to the regional disputes and the role of the GCC, Al-Zayani said: “The GCC seeks to resolve disputes by peaceful means and support issues of concerns to Arab and Islamic countries.” He hailed the achievements made in the implementation of the Gulf Customs Union since 2003 and the Gulf Common Market since 2008, noting that these ambitious projects laid a firm foundation for integration among the GCC countries.

He said that the GCC had opted for expansion. In this regard, he said Jordan and Morocco would be joining the GCC as announced at the annual GCC Consultative Summit recently.


Source: Arab News



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