Saturday, 29 August 2015  -  14 Dhul-Qada 1436 H
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Unified currency, Dubai debt woes to top GCC summit

CAIRO - Ratification of a monetary union agreement as well as Dubai debt woes will top the agenda of the 30th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit due to kick off in Kuwait City on Monday, a Kuwait official said.
The six GCC member states are keen on going ahead with the monetary union, which will help facilitate internal trade and promote cooperation, Kuwaiti ambassador to Egypt Rashid Al-Hamad said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
As of now, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, which sealed a pact in June to establish a monetary union council, a prelude to the launch of the single Gulf currency, have approved the monetary union agreement.
Driven by oil revenues and growing financial muscle, the bloc in 2001 decided to spend 10 years in materializing a euro-style common currency in order to cement economic integrity.
But Oman shocked the bloc in 2006 in a decision to opt out the initiative, saying it was not ready to meet the preconditions.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed suit in May this year.
The Kuwait summit will also touch upon the Dubai debt crisis, due to its potential impact on the rest of the Gulf Arab countries.
“If any GCC country was hit by an emergency, it will surely affect the other members,” the diplomat said.
On Nov. 25, Dubai World, the cash-strapped conglomerate at the center of Dubai’s debt crisis, asked for a six-month standstill on $59 billion in debts, which caused wide-spread panic and worries in the financial sector across the world.
In response, the UAE central bank decided to establish an emergency facility to aid bank liquidity, but development of the crisis was being closely watched as fears of another wave of financial crisis accumulated.
Inauguration of the first phase of Gulf electrical grid will be high on the table, the Kuwaiti diplomat said, adding that the leaders will tackle the situation in Yemen and the Iranian nuclear dossier among other issues.
Speaking about his country’s readiness to host the event, Al-Hamad said Kuwait is well-prepared to receive the official delegations of the six countries as well as businessmen and reporters.
Ahead of Monday’s summit, the GCC foreign ministers are due to meet on Sunday to approve the summit’s final agenda and draft resolutions that will be referred to the GCC leaders.
Also on Sunday, the GCC member states’ foreign, finance and economy ministers will hold a joint meeting to finalize economic issues on the agenda.
Founded in 1981, the GCC groups the six Gulf Arab countries which together hold around 40 percent of the world’s oil reserves and pump around 16 million barrels of crude oil per day. - Agencies
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