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Saudi official: Union of Gulf States to be formed despite Oman's refusal

According to the former chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services, Amir Torky Al-Faisal, the Gulf States believe in the necessity of establishing a union "whether Oman agrees or not".


Al-Faisal, who heads the King Faisal Centre for Islamic Research and Studies, was commenting on Monday to Al-Wasat newspaper in Bahrain about Omani Foreign Minister Yousif Al-Alawi's remarks that his country refuses to join such a union.

"Oman has a right to express its opinion," Al-Faisal noted, "but I do not think that will undermine the establishment of this union."

He continued: "Unity is necessary, whether Oman wants to join later on or not. The decision is its own business."

During its meeting on Sunday, Bahrain's ministerial council suggested that "the challenges mounting the Gulf Cooperation Council necessitate for the Gulf union to become a strategic choice as there is no other possible alternative."

However, Kuwait's Minister Sheikh Abdullah Sabbah remarked that the Gulf union first "needs a vision and more research, study and consensus." Thus Sabbah ruled out announcing the union during the upcoming Gulf summit on Tuesday.

In the wake of the Geneva agreement over the Iranian nuclear programme, there have been strong calls from the Gulf States regarding the necessity of establishing a Gulf union. These calls stress that they have to change from a state of cooperation to state of union.

Officials in the Gulf States warn that Iran may produce a nuclear bomb, which they consider a threat to their countries. Tehran has always denied intentions to produce an atomic bomb and says that it enriches uranium just for producing electricity.

As early as 2011, the Saudi King started calling for the Gulf countries to upgrade their state of cooperation to a state of union.

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