GCC Foreign Ministers sign monetary union agreement

June 8, 2009

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait signed in Riyadh yesterday an agreement on the formation of a monetary union between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

In a press statement, GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman Al-Atiyyah hailed the 28-article document, which sets forth the details of a new unified currency zone and the accompanying monetary institutions. Al-Atiyyah confirmed that the GCC currency, which has not yet been named, will be pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The agreement was signed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifah. Also present at the meeting were U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Qirqash and Omani Foreign Minister Yosif bin Abdullah.

The foreign ministers gathered again in Riyadh today to hold a GCC Foreign Ministerial consultation summit. Following the meeting, Secretary General Al-Atiyyah read a statement on behalf of the participants. “The Ministerial Council valued the historic speech delivered by President Barack Obama from Cairo University to the Islamic world,” he said. Al-Atiyyah expressed hope that the historical visit laid a solid foundation for a new stage in U.S.-Arab relations. Specifically, he called for the U.S. to more fully recognize Arab grievances, especially regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Speaking for all the GCC ministers, Secretary General Al-Atiyyah stressed the importance of taking urgent, serious action aimed at achieving a just and lasting settlement based upon the Arab Peace Initiative.

According to Secretary General Al-Atiyyah, the Council also reviewed regional GCC developments, the situation in Iraq, relations with Iran, economic cooperation, anti-terror efforts and Arab reconciliation.