Entries in Gulf Cooperation Council (3)


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Pushes Gulf Security and Aid for Syria

Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to discuss the sale of a number of missile-defense systems to Arab nations as a way to counter the looming Iranian threat.

Secretary Clinton will meet with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh on Saturday to discuss a regional security plan.

“In order to protect the Gulf, no one nation can protect itself,” a senior US official said. “We are working to address missile defense in the region.”

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and patriot missile defense systems will likely be part of the “building blocks” for this new initiative. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait already possess some of these systems.

In 2011 the U.S. finalized the sale of THAAD missiles to UAE.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait already have Patriot missiles, along with deals in place to upgrade to modern missile-defense systems.

The idea behind establishing a new Strategic Cooperation Forum is meant to unite Gulf States instead of dealing with each country’s security issues solely on a one-on-one basis, according to U.S. officials.

The discussions on regional security come a day before 60 countries will gather in Turkey for the “Friends of Syria” conference.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations are pushing the White House to arm Syrian rebels. But talk of a no-fly zone or even military intervention may be waning.

“The Americans said no weapons will go to the rebels, but what about communications devices or satellite coordinates so the opposition will  know where the Syrian tanks are?” a Saudi official told ABC News.

For now it appears the White House’s strategy will concentrate on getting a steady flow of humanitarian aid into Syria and attempting to end the bloodshed.

“Our main focus with partners is trying to get Assad’s guns silenced,” said a senior State Department official.

On Friday, Secretary Clinton also met with Saudi King Abdullah. The two discussed Iran and future sanctions that the country will face.

Clinton also discussed the need for Saudi Arabia to keep up oil production.

“Saudi Arabia won’t turn down any requests for oil from clients,” a senior Saudi official told ABC News. “We have two million barrels that can be switched on, but there is no demand for it.”

In a rare effort to publicly address the rise in oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, wrote an op-ed in Thursday’s Financial Times saying that there was no oil shortage and adding that there was also no rational reason why oil prices continue to remain high.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In New Blow to Arab League, Gulf Nations Pull Observers Out of Syria

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The Arab League mission to monitor the ongoing government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Syria lost more credibility on Tuesday when six nations announced they were pulling their observers because of the violence and Damascus' refusal to adhere to an agreement to end its military occupation of cities.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman all decided they could no longer participate in the mission that Syria said it would allow to be extended for one month.  All are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Arab League observers have already spent several weeks in Syria, which critics complained did little to stop the widespread killings by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.  The United Nations estimates that well over 5,500 people have died as the result of the crackdown over the past 10 months.

With the mission seemingly crippled, the Gulf Cooperation Council has called upon the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution approving the Arab League's mission in Syria as well as putting more pressure on Damascus to end the crackdown.

Al-Assad has rejected the call for foreign intervention to stop the mayhem while turning down an Arab League proposal to cede power to a transitional government so that free elections can take place.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Yemen President Calls Protests a 'Coup'

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Even with reports about Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreeing to a deal to step down, protestors continued demonstrations on the streets of Yemen on Sunday.

Thousands of demonstrators reportedly hit the streets of Sana’a and other parts of the country, protesting the deal offered to Saleh, according to published reports.

On Saturday officials said Saleh agreed to a deal that would see him stepping down from office within 30 days. The deal, which was brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, also includes immunity for Saleh and those who served as part of his regime.

On Saturday the White House issued a statement saying that the United States supports a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen that is responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

In an interview with BBC’s Lina Sinjab on Sunday, Saleh called the protests against him a “coup” and said that Al Qaeda is moving inside Yemen and being destructive in the country.

“You call on me to hand over power from the US and Europe, but who should I hand it over to?” Saleh said in the BBC interview. “We will do it through ballot boxes and referendums, we’ll invite international monitors, but we will not accept a coup.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio