Egypt could be the next GCC member state, Gulf sources say

By Dina al-Shibeeb
Al Arabiya

Egypt is being considered for incorporation into the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC).

Discussions are under way about making Egypt a GCC member, the Kuwaiti al-Watan newspaper reported Gulf sources as saying.

The sources also said that the GCC states are enthusiastic about Egypt joining, as the country has the capabilities and shares mutual strategic interests with the Gulf states. Egypt’s security historically has also been linked to the security of the Gulf, they added.

Egypt and Morocco are the only Arab economies classified as emerging markets, and Egypt boasts the biggest army in the Arab world.

In addition, Egypt and the GCC states have strong mutual interests.

On September 11, Morocco and Jordan attended their first GCC ministerial meeting, in Jeddah.

The sources said that an Egyptian role is increasingly necessary to the stability of the region, especially after the change of regime in Iraq and the increasing Iranian interference in the Iraqi political sphere.

Meanwhile, sources said that the close ties of Tehran and Cairo is not a problem, because the Gulf States are convinced that any ties connecting Egypt and Iran will benefit the region as a whole.

Egyptian officials welcomed the news.

Last week, Egypt’s deputy prime minister, Hazem al-Beblawi, said Arab governments or their investment arms may soon buy Egyptian treasury bills to help the Cairo government reduce its borrowing costs.

Beblawi specifically mentioned Saudi Arabai and the UAE when discussing the treasury bills.

The GCC’s six member-states include: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.