Bahrain PM says Arab unity ‘strongly needed’


Manama: Bahrain’s prime minister has sounded the alarm over conspiracies targeting the Arab nation, saying that unity was the only solution.
“The Arab nation, both leaders and citizens, should be very attentive to the schemes being plotted against us,” Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa said. “We should end our fragmentation and adopt the union as the most crucial step forward. The Gulf union should be at the forefront of this drive, at least as the core of the Arab unity,” he said on Monday as he received intellectuals, business and media people and citizens.
Prince Khalifa has emerged as a major supporter of a union between the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an alliance established in 1981 and that brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In December 2011, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz called for moving the alliance from the phase of cooperation to the phase of a union within a single entity.
The call was then accepted by the member states, but some required more time to look into the finer details.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been the most enthusiastic about the union and Prince Khalifa has regularly highlighted its advantages in tackling security threats to the region.
Oman in December said that it would not join the union, a decision that did not dampen the enthusiasm of supporters of the single entity who said that it could start with some of the state members and that the other members could join later.
Prince Khalifa warned that conspirators could use Bahrain as the gateway through which terror could be spread into the entire region.
Bahrain is confronting systematic and organised terror targeting its security and stability, he said, adding that failure to take a clear and unequivocal stance against it or to condemn it would be seen as condoning it.
Last week, Bahrain said that it foiled terror operations, including the smuggling of weapons and ammunitions from Iraq and the smuggling out of 13 people, including a Saudi national, who had legally proven links with terror activities.
The interior minister on Sunday called upon neighbouring states to reinforce the surveillance of their territories to ensure they are not used for terror operations attempting to undermine the stability and security of the Gulf.