GCC chief says Gulf monetary union to be launched in upcoming leaders' summit

11:21, December 14, 2009      

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Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Rahman al-Attiya said here Sunday that the GCC leaders would endorse the long-expected monetary union in their upcoming 30th summit.

The six countries will give green light to the "establishment of the monetary union" that would lead to the issue of the common currency at an appropriate time, al-Attiyah was quoted as saying by the state KUNA news agency.

That step would pave the way for the creation of the GCC Central Bank that will be responsible for issuing the single Gulf currency.

But to materialize the euro-style currency need sufficient time as preparations are doomed to be complicated since a number of issues remain to be tackled.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah said on December 8 that "issuing the currency will take a very long time, that may reach 10 years."

The GCC, established in 1981, groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The bloc in 2001 decided to spend 10 years in materializing a euro-style common currency in order to strengthen economic integrity. But Oman and UAE have pulled out of the initiative.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain in June this year agreed to set up a monetary union council, which has been ratified by all the four signatories.

"Oman and UAE are pioneers in joint Gulf action and always took the lead in implementing resolutions of Gulf summits, so they are always at the center of the common Gulf action," al-Attiyah said.

On Friday, Kuwaiti Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shamali also called on the two countries to come back to membership, as the project would help cement regional economic growth.

Source: Xinhua
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