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Yemen to Request Membership of Gulf Cooperation Council

Yemen's president spokesman recently declared that their government is going to request for a membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), that is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, gulfnews.com reports. 

Yemen’s government, according to the spokesman, will present a plan to Saudi Arabia next month that will prepare Yemen for joining the GCC.

Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC was established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. The purpose of the GCC is to achieve unity among its members based on their common objectives and their similar political and cultural identities, which are rooted in Islamic beliefs. Presidency of the council rotates annually.

The GCC also has a defense planning council that coordinates military cooperation between member countries. As britanica.com writes, the highest decision-making entity of the GCC is the Supreme Council, which meets on an annual basis and consists of GCC heads of state. Decisions of the Supreme Council are adopted by unanimous approval. The Ministerial Council, made up of foreign ministers or other government officials, meets every three months to implement the decisions of the Supreme Council and to propose new policy. The administrative arm of the alliance is the office of the Secretariat-General, which monitors policy implementation and arranges meetings.

All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain), two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates), which in fact is composed of seven member states, each with their own emir.

Back in 2011, there had already been some discussions in GCC regarding the future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen. Yemen had long been in negotiations for GCC membership, and hoped to join by 2015. Although Yemen has no coastline on the Persian Gulf, it lies in the Arabian Peninsula and shares a common culture and history with other members of the GCC. The GCC has already approved Yemen's accession to the GCC Standardization Authority, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC),GCC Auditing and Accounting Authority, Gulf Radio and TV Authority, GCC Council of Health Ministers, GCC Education and Training Bureau, GCC Council of Labour and Social Affairs Ministers, and Gulf Cup Football Tournament. The Council issued directives that all the necessary legal measures be taken so that Yemen would have the same rights and obligations of GCC member states in those institutions.

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