- Title: KUWAIT: Gulf Arab countries endorse monetary union agreement
- Date: 16th December 2009
- Summary: KUWAIT (DECEMBER 15, 2009) (REUTERS) (CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY) FOUNTAIN AT BAYAN PALACE ENTRANCE GCC FLAGS INSIDE PALACE PALACE ENTRANCE WITH FOUNTAIN ENTRANCE JOURNALISTS IN PALACE WORKING MAIN HALL PEOPLE ENTERING PALACE FOR MEETING PEOPLE STANDING IN EXHIBITION AREA USA AMBASSADOR DEBORA JOHNS ARRIVING SHEIKH SABAH AL AHMED ARRIVAL TO MEETING KUWAIT AND QATAR MINISTERS OF EXTERIOR AFFAIRS ARRIVE SHEIKH NAWAF AL AHMED AND OMANI REPRESENTATIVE ARRIVE PEOPLE WAITING FOR GUESTS LEADERS HEADING TO MEETING ROOM MEETING TABLE WITH SHEIKH SUBAH AL AHMED IN BACKGROUND SHEIKH SUBAH AL AHMED (KUWAITI PRINCE) SHEIKH NAWAF AL AHMED (KUWAITI FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) SAUDI ARABIA'S KING ABDULLAH UAE PRINCE QATARI PRINCE, IN BACKGROUND, OMANI REPRESENTATIVE MEETING ROOM EXTERIOR OF MEETING ROOM LEADERS LEAVING MEETING ROOM SHEIKH SUBAH AL AHMED LEAVING PALACE IN HIS CAR FOUNTAIN OUTSIDE PALACE GCC FLAGS NEWS CONFERENCE WITH MINISTER OF EXTERIOR AFFAIRS SHEIKH MUHAMMED AL SUBAH AND AL SHEIKH ABDULL RAHMAN AL ATIAH FROM QATAR JOURNALISTS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MINISTER OF EXTERIOR AFFAIRS SHEIKH MUHAMMED AL SUBAH SAYING: "All I can say is that the GCC council is asking Iran to deal in a serious and transparent manner with the international nuclear agency's requirement and to commit to the UN rules." CAMERA MEN PEOPLE LISTENING AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) QATAR SHEIKH ABDULL RAHMAN AL ATIAH SAYING: "What actually happened in the meeting in Kuwait is that we agreed on the GCC cooperation strategy of defence and also working on the Dira's aljazeera force development, which will also have a joint leading based in al Riyadh" NEWS CONFERENCE
- Reuters ID: LVABVF00TBJX4L94AT5OETCM6SZ4
- Location: Kuwait
- Country: Kuwait
- Duration: 00:02:59
- Topics: International Relations,Finance
- Story Text: Gulf Arab countries endorsed a monetary union agreement on Tuesday (December 15, 2009), despite the absence of major player the United Arab Emirates and fellow oil producer Oman and left options open for pegging their future single currency.
Rulers from the world's top oil exporting region gathered in Kuwait to push forward the much-delayed project, whose viability was put in question by the pullout in May of the UAE, the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia.
The central bankers from four states in the union -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain -- will now set a timetable for creation of a joint central bank, Kuwait's finance minister said, but the summit revealed no details on what authority its forerunner would have.
Mustapha al-Shamali expressed hope the UAE and Oman would rejoin the planned union in the near future, but did not give more details about his country's drive to secure their return during its 2010 presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Kuwait said on Monday (December 14) no specific deadline has been set for the launch of the planned single currency, which officials have said could take up to 10 years.
The UAE withdrew from the project in protest at the decision to site the joint monetary council, which will prepare the launch of the common central bank, in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Oman, a non-OPEC oil producer, abandoned the project in 2006, saying it could not meet the original 2010 deadline.
Analysts did not expect the two countries to come back at this week's summit as the UAE, embarrassed by the problems of its debt-laden emirate of Dubai, was still bitter about the central bank. Oman has said its decision was final.
However, the UAE's return at a later stage was not completely ruled out if the Saudis offer enough concessions.
Striking a power balance in the union remains a challenge as some smaller Gulf states resist the dominance of Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter.
The Gulf policymakers decided that central bank governors of the four union members will have equal voting rights in the monetary council, an official from the six-nation GCC said.
A deal on the new currency regime remains distant despite a debate on whether it would be better to peg to the dollar, as most Gulf states do, or pick Kuwait's currency basket model due to the dollar's weakness, which revives fears of high inflation.
Ministers at the summit also urged Iran to be transparent about its nuclear ambitions.
"All I can say is that the GCC council is asking Iran to deal in a serious and transparent manner with the international nuclear agency's requirement and to commit to the UN rules," Minister of Exterior Affairs Sheikh Muhammed Al Subah said.
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