Gulf unites with new passport

(eTN) – In the latest move towards regional cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain – a Kuwaiti official this week announced plans to accept the new Gulf passport, starting next May.

Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghanim, the director of the GCC Affairs Department at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry, was quoted by the Kuwaiti national news agency as saying that Kuwait was on its way to applying the measure and would do so after completing all technical procedures required.

The implementation of the new passport is meant to increase the freedom of movement of GCC nationals between the various member states rather than addressing foreign visitors.

The GCC was established in 1981 in order to increase cooperation among its member states in fields such as security, economics, law and the military. There are plans among the member states to introduce a common currency by 2010, but progress has been slow and several problems remain unresolved.

In recent weeks, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been considering breaking ranks and going ahead with the plans, according to local media.

The new currency would not only strengthen the national economies and enable the countries to de-peg from the dollar but will also save tourists from having to exchange currencies as they travel the region.

In the last 10 to 15 years the region has experienced a huge increase in tourism as regional leaders have been investing oil profits in massive hotels and tourist attractions to prepare for a day when to oil runs out.