GCC members to discuss boosting links with Australia

Foreign ministers from the seven Gulf Co-operation Council nations are meeting in Abu Dhabi today amid regional political unrest.

While the protests in two member-states, Bahrain and Oman, will be at the top of their agenda, the GCC Secretary-General says relations with Australia are also up for discussion.

According to Abu Dhabi based newspaper, The National,  Abdul Rahman al Atiyyah said “the ministerial council would look at negotiations over trade agreements and strategic co-operation between the Gulf bloc and China, Russia, Australia and the United States.”

This, ahead of the Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd’s visit to the United Arab Emirates later this week, where he will be engaging in “strategic GCC-Australia dialogue”, according to the official Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The role of the Gulf Co-operation Council has taken increasing prominence in recent months. In areas of regional concern, Gulf nations are acting more frequently as a single-entity, and making fewer unilateral decisions.

While discussions for a single currency have been on the backburner in recent times, plans to introduce a single ‘Schengen-style’ visa for GCC entrants are progressing steadily.

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