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H.E. Dr. Abdullatif Al Zayani:
GCC Aims and Achievements are in favour of the Arab Gulf Citizens

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organized a lecture entitled “Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf: Achievements and Aspirations,” delivered by H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), at 07:00 PM on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall at the ECSSR Office Complex in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, His Excellency Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai, H.E. Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, former Foreign Minister of the UAE, and the ambassadors of GCC to the UAE, were prominent among the attendees, which included a large group of diplomats, intellectuals, academics and researchers.

Dr. Al Zayani extended his gratitude and appreciation to the ECSSR and to H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, for his invitation to deliver this lecture. He praised the prestigious role played by the center as an academic and research institution with a leading regional and global role. Dr. Al Zayani discussed the conditions and challenges experienced by the countries GCC from the time of its inception in 1981 to the present. He pointed out that the Council has proved to be one of the most important regional groupings in the region and the world. The Council has been able to withstand all challenges, offering a model of cooperation and integration. Dr. Al Zayani praised the approach developed by the founding fathers of the Council, headed by the late Sheikh Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace), who was instrumental in establishing it.

Dr. Al Zayani pointed out that the main objective of the Council is the coordination, integration and interdependence among member states in all fields in order to achieve unity. He said that in assessing the progress of the Council, one must take into account the challenging events and crises that have occurred in the region. The fight against terrorism is one of the challenges the Council faces, particularly since the emergence of ISIS, or “Daesh,” and the crises experienced by some countries in the region, such as Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya. Organized crime, weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation of nuclear weapons are also among the challenges facing the Council.

Dr. Al Zayani indicated that GCC faces no less significant a challenge as a result of the environmental factor. He referred to the close attention paid by the wise leadership of the UAE to environmental issues.

Dr. Al Zayani noted some of the achievements of the Council. He indicated that the volume of trade has increased a great deal among the GCC countries, and the volume of movement and transportation between member states by GCC citizens has doubled. He also discussed the interconnection of the electrical grid system among the GCC countries, which is considered a success story of cooperation among member states.

Dr. Al Zayani also discussed the future of the GCC countries. He said there are five strategic objectives on which the Council focuses: achieving comprehensive security; maintaining economic growth; diversifying the sources of income while improving human development and providing education and employment opportunities; promoting the international prestige of the Council; and providing peace and stability in Yemen and the region by dealing with crises.

Dr. Al Zayani spoke about the vision launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the last GCC summit, held in December 2015 in Riyadh, to strengthen integration among the GCC countries, which lays out the priorities of joint Arab Gulf action. These priorities include the completion of the requirements of the GCC Customs Union; the completion of the procedures for implementing the common GCC market; and exerting greater efforts in the areas of environment, water, consumer protection, the coordination of volunteer work, and other fields.

In conclusion, Dr. Al-Zayani stressed that the GCC has managed to proceed through many stages of development since its establishment. Its many achievements all serve, first and foremost, the interests of the Arab Gulf citizens.