x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE marks the 30th anniversary of the GCC

Officials raised the GCC flag yesterday to mark the organisation's 30th anniversary.

ABU DHABI // An array of dignitaries and officials gathered yesterday morning to see the Gulf Co-operation Council flag raised next to the UAE flag - a move decided upon during the last GCC meeting held in the capital.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the GCC, its flag will be hoisted alongside all the member states' flags in their countries.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Federal National Council members, and ambassadors from the other member states were all present at the ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Abu Dhabi.

"This anniversary reminds us of the accomplishments of the council, and we look forward to strengthen it through more work," Dr Gargash said. "With the critical circumstances that surround us, we all have to realise the importance of this structure that the leaders constructed. We should also realise the importance of developing it to go in accordance with our goals and future challenges."

Since its inception in 1981, the GCC, which comprises of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait, has been involved in several regional initiatives. The Peninsula Shield Force helped liberate Kuwait during the First Gulf War and also went to Bahrain during the recent protests in the kingdom.

The GCC also established a customs union in 2003, a common market in 2008and a Monetary Union, which went into effect in 2010. Other joint-projects that have been mooted include a railway and electricity link among member states.

The GCC's influence has stretched further than the six member states, as the UAE and Qatar were the first Arab countries to help police the no-fly zone in Libya, while Saudi Arabia recently pledged US$4 billion (Dh14.7bn) in aid to Egypt.

hdajani@thenational.ae