Yemeni efforts continue for future GCC partnership [Archives:2006/977/Front Page]

August 31 2006

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Aug. 30 ) Yemen needs to keep pace with other Gulf countries if it hopes to join the Gulf Cooperation Council.

A symposium to qualify Yemen for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded Wednesday in Sana'a, attended by a committee of academics and officials representing Yemen and GCC nations.

Over two days, participants discussed papers on historical relations between Yemen and GCC nations. Convening the symposium was part of activities accompanying preparations already underway for a November donors conference in London, which will discuss necessary financing sources to help Yemen qualify its economy to keep pace with those of GCC nations.

In addition to historical relations, symposium discussions touched on common interests, Yemen's GCC accession, constituents of common trade union work on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Gulf region, Yemeni and Gulf political developments and security relations between the two sides.

Discussions also mentioned strategic determinants for establishing the GCC, including security, military, economic, trade union and political determinants, as well as Yemen's natural and human capabilities qualifying it for GCC accession.

Several papers mentioned Yemen's strategic importance to GCC economic security embodied in Yemen's contribution to protect 2,300 km. of oil pipelines and its ability to provide sea terminals for Gulf oil flow.

The majority of discussions and studies focused on the reality and future of Yemeni and Gulf labor markets amid local, regional and international changes.

One study affirmed that the Arabian Peninsula had a unified labor market in past decades, meaning there were no geographical restraints against immigrants and labor moving from one country to another. Besides the geographic factor, there was population and tribal intermingling among all Arabian Peninsula countries.

Moreover, Yemeni migrants, including labor, blended into various Arabian Peninsula countries without causing any irregularity in population composition. The study further noted that integration and granting Gulf nationality successfully solved any existing confusion, whether regarding population composition or composition of the incoming labor force, which constituted more than 70 percent of Gulf labor.

Regarding security gains resulting from Yemen joining the GCC, many studies affirmed that numerous aspects of security coordination will be achieved easily and efficiently, as unified security measures will realize better security success for all.

The papers reviewed security challenges and affirmed that achieving considerable levels of dignified living is preceded by common government efforts and that GCC infrastructure is considered an important launching pad toward unifying concepts and regulation in the security field.