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GCC creates $5 bln support fund for Jordan and Morocco

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (L) and and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdul Latif Al-Zayyani attend a news conference after the GCC meeting in Riyadh December 20, 2011. ( REUTERS/Saudi Press Ageency/Handout)

RIYADH: Gulf states announced Tuesday the establishment of a $5 billion fund for development plans in Jordan and Morocco, without saying whether either nation would join the alliance of oil-rich monarchies. The Gulf Cooperation Council has “decided to create a Gulf development fund which begins by providing support to development projects in the Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Morocco worth $2.5 billion for each,” the GCC said in statement.

“The supreme council has assigned the finance ministers of its members to study the statute and structures needed to create the fund,” said the closing statement of the six-nation bloc’s two-day summit in Riyadh.

The GCC, which comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, has remained an exclusive club since its inception in 1981.

Jordan and Morocco are the only Arab kingdoms not in the GCC. No measures have yet been taken to enrol them in the group, despite a GCC proposal in May that both countries join.

Jordan is an immediate neighbor of GCC heavyweight Saudi Arabia and a major trading partner of alliance countries, but Morocco is geographically distant from the Gulf.

The oil-rich Arab states of the Gulf, which have seen entrenched regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya fall, are seeking reliable allies in the region, singling out fellow monarchies.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 21, 2011, on page 4.

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