"The six countries of the PGCC talk to each other. They also talk, as individuals, to the other two great regional powers, Iraq and Iran, and from time to time collectively with neighbouring Yemen," IISS director John Chipman said.
"Yet these countries do not have a forum in which to meet," he said in an article for the Financial Times. "These countries need more ways to talk to each other in a multilateral format," he said.
Chipman said that there was particular concern in the Persian Gulf, where many security problems come together, but that the organization of regional security was "still in its infancy."
The six states of the PGCC, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, he suggested that made some security contribution in their formal and informal arrangements with such countries as US, UK, France and even Russia, as well as more distant states, like Singapore, Japan and Australia
His call for a wider framework comes after the London-based institute organized what it called an inaugural "Persian Gulf Dialogue" in Bahrain last week, bringing together national security establishments of all of the regional countries.
The IISS director said that at the meeting, there was an Iranian proposal put forward for a regional assembly on security. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also called for new bilateral agreements in the region to formalize improving ties, he said.
"At the inaugural IISS Persian Gulf Dialogue, the Rubik's cube of regional arrangements began to be turned," Chipman said.
He said it would take time to align themselves harmoniously, but added "with the right countries beginning to involve each other in the effort, the prospect of a more coherent framework for regional security discussions in the Gulf has become real."
... Payvand News - 12/10/04 ... --