Qatar's Role In GCC: Influential Approach And Effective Summits


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA

The State of Qatar has completed its preparations to host the 44th Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Supreme Council, set to be held today.

The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will lead the well-wishers to welcome Their Majesties and Highnesses leaders of the GCC countries, upon their arrival on today in the country to participate in the 44th session of the GCC Supreme Council.

The 44th summit is being held during special circumstances at the regional and international levels, as the summit is expected to address the most pressing regional and international issues, notably the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, in addition to other economic, political and security files, as well as the summit's most prominent topic of strengthening relations between the GCC countries, increasing coordination among them and crystallizing a unified GCC vision on various regional and international issues.

Observers expect that the 44th summit will provide a strong push and renewed start to the GCC work path, based on the State of Qatar's keenness and firm approach to supporting GCC's progress and preserving its unity and cohesion, as it stands as a strong, integrated and indispensable system in the face of the regional challenges.

Forty-three summits have been held since the establishment of the GCC back in 1981. Two annual summits for the Council are usually held, an advisory one in the middle of the year and one at the end of the year in which decisions are taken. Doha hosted six summits out of the 43, each of which resulted in many impactful political and economic decisions and outcomes, as well as effective actions that had an important impact on strengthening the GCC, unity of its decisions and the development of its performance.

The first GCC Supreme Council summit that Doha hosted was its 4th session on Nov. 7, 1983. During it, the Council proclaimed that it stands united behind the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It also expressed its conviction that peace would not be achieved in the Middle East except by enabling the Palestinian people to obtain their inalienable national rights, including their right to return, self-determination and establishing their independent state on their national soil. The summit at that time also supported Lebanon in its efforts for the unity and integrity of its lands.

The 4th summit also stressed the importance of the self-reliance of the GCC countries to protect their security and maintain their stability. Additionally, the summit saw the GCC leaders decide to further expand the circle of economic activity in the region by allowing citizens of a GCC member state to practice activities in other member states as of Mar. 1, 1984.

Doha also hosted the 11th summit, Dec. 22, 1990, and the summit of 1990 aimed at ensuring the implementation of international legitimacy resolutions. On the economic side, the Supreme Council also assigned the Committee on Financial and Economic Cooperation to develop a program to complete the establishment of the GCC Common Market. It also agreed on a unified trade policy and reviewed the texts and the methods of implementation of the Common Economic Agreement with the aim of reaching new benefits that serves the people of the GCC member states and leads to further prosperity.

On a regional level, specifically the Palestinian cause, the Council welcomed during the 11th summit the Security Council Resolution 681 regarding providing international protection to the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and its call to hold an international peace conference on the Palestinian issue.

The third GCC Supreme Council summit that Doha hosted was the 17th session on Dec. 27, 1996. It concluded with important decisions related to strengthening cooperation between the GCC countries, the most important of which was facilitating the movement of national employment within the GCC member states. In the area of military and strategy, Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the Supreme Council states agreed to enhance collective defense capabilities in order to achieve military coordination. The summit also included unifying the customs tariffs and establishing a Customs Union.

On Dec. 21, 2002, Doha hosted the 23rd summit, making it the fourth time it was held in Doha. The summit's closing statement included the announcement of the establishment of the Customs Union for the GCC member states as of Jan. 1, 2003.

On Dec. 3 and 4, 2007, Doha hosted the 28th summit, during which the Council announced the launch of the GCC Common Market as of Jan. 1, 2008, marking an important step in the path of cooperation between the six GCC countries.

The GCC Common Market, in accordance with what was approved in Doha, aims to create a single market through which citizens of the GCC countries can benefit from the opportunities available in the Gulf economy, open a wider opportunity for inter- and foreign investment, maximize the benefits resulting from economies of scale, raise efficiency in production, achieve optimal use of available resources, as well as improve the negotiating position of the GCC countries and enhance their effective and influential position among international economic blocs.

The sixth summit that Doha hosted was the 35th session on Dec. 9, 2014. It was marked by the approval of accelerating the formation mechanisms of the Unified Military Command, the establishment of the Maritime Duty Force (81), as well as the adoption of the GCC Human Rights Declaration.

Their Majesties and Highnesses leaders of the GCC countries also addressed during the 35th summit the importance of completing the GCC railway project, as the vital project holds great strategic importance in facilitating trade and human transportation between the GCC member states.

Al Attiyah's run included historic achievements such as the launch of the Customs Union in 2003, the announcement of the establishment of the GCC Common Market at the Doha summit in Dec. 2007, as well as other projects and proposals such as establishing a water interconnection network and a railway between the six GCC countries, while economic proposals included the Monetary Union, the Monetary Council and the establishment of the GCC Central Bank.

In 2005 and 2007, standards were adopted that converged the economic performance necessary for the success of the Monetary Union. Important calls also included pegging the Council's currency to the dollar, as well as the issuing of a definite decision regarding maritime security.

The State of Qatar played a vital role in bringing in achievements that benefited the GCC and crystallized its directions and decisions in various regional and international files. The State of Qatar effectively contributed to formulating distinctive directions and unique policies reflected in the notable outcomes of the summits, especially ones held in Doha. Through political and economic achievements and structural and financial reforms, Qatar showcased its aim for the success of the GCC, achieving economic integration, developing the Council's prospects, enhancing its regional weight and international influence, and strengthening inter-cohesion in a way that brings prosperity to all people in the GCC countries who are bound by religion, language, history, kinship and a common destiny. The GCC has gained an undeniable regional and international influence politically and economically, especially in the last two decades.

The GCC countries have deepened their strategic relations with major countries such as the United States, Russia, the European Union, China and India, and have also recently directed their interest toward the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the countries of Central Asia and the African continent. This is through strategic partnerships, massive investments and intra-trade aimed at achieving food security and developing industries, including non-oil.

The stability of the energy market is heavily contributed to by the GCC countries and their role in the oil and gas sectors. The geopolitical position of the GCC countries is also utilized to control land, air and sea commercial transportation between East and West.

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