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Bahrain nominates new candidate to head GCC

Bahrain nominated a new candidate to head the Gulf Cooperation Council on Friday, responding to mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia to calm a Qatar-Bahrain row over a previous nominee.

May 29, 2010 2:51 by



Bahrain nominated a new candidate to head the Gulf Cooperation Council on Friday, Bahrain’s news agency said, responding to mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia to calm a Qatar-Bahrain row over a previous nominee.

Bahrain said it would nominate public security chief Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani as secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a post that rotates between the six nations of the loose economic and political bloc.

Analysts say tension has been high since Bahrain initially nominated Mohammad Al-Mutawa, a former Bahraini information minister widely said to be disliked by Qatar for his role in a territorial dispute between the two states.

On Thursday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah pushed for the appointment of a new GCC secretary-general.

King Abdullah sent Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs Prince Miteb bin Abdullah with messages of mediation to Bahrain and Qatar’s rulers, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The kingdom of Bahrain highly values the mediation of (Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah) and his great efforts to strengthen the brotherly relations between the GCC states,” said a statement from Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on the state news agency.

Bahrain and Qatar have had strained ties despite the settling of a territorial dispute in 2001 by the World Court over the Hawar Islands, most of which were awarded to Bahrain.

“Mutawa led Bahrain’s propaganda efforts during the conflict and Qatar has not forgotten about that,” said a Bahraini analyst, who declined to be named.

Bahrain said Qatar’s coastguards shot and wounded a Bahraini fisherman on May 8 after he entered Qatari waters.

A Bahraini rights group said on Wednesday that Qatar would put dozens of sailors on a mass trial next month for illegally fishing in Qatari waters. Bahrain has said Qatar was holding 106 fishermen, but there has been no comment from Qatari officials.

Earlier this month, Bahrain suspended the local operations of Qatar-owned television station Al Jazeera, saying it had flouted media rules after the pan Arab broadcaster aired a program about poverty in Bahrain.

- Arab News



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