Bahrain calls for GCC trade talks

Bahrain says it will call for an additional preparatory meeting for the Gulf summit this month with a view to bridging gaps over economic issues.

    Differences have arisen among GCC neighbours over trade ties

    "Bahrain will call for a meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the next few days to continue deliberations over the agenda of the summit" on 20-21 December, Foreign Minister Muhammad bin Mubarak al-Khalifa was quoted as saying by the official BNA news agency.

    He did not give details, but a Bahraini official said Manama sought to host the gathering on Sunday or Monday.

    That would precede the usual meeting of foreign ministers on the eve of the annual year-end summit bringing together the heads of state of GCC members Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    The foreign ministers are due to get together on 19 December.

    Saudi admonition

    Foreign and finance ministers of the oil-rich Gulf bloc already held a preparatory meeting in the Bahraini capital on Tuesday.

    Bahrain has come under fire over
    its free-trade accord with the US

    "There are differences among member states over economic matters. Bahrain wants to resolve any differences in order to ensure the success of the summit," the Western diplomat said.

    He pointed out that Saudi Arabia had criticised Bahrain over its free-trade pact with the United States.

    On Sunday, Saudi Arabia accused its smaller Gulf neighbours of weakening Gulf solidarity by forging separate economic and security agreements with foreign powers.

    Saudi Arabia is the only GCC state that is not a member of the World Trade Organisation, while in September Bahrain signed a free-trade agreement with the United States.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.