Jordan, Morocco open admission talks with Gulf Cooperation states
Jordan, Morocco and the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Sunday decided to set up two working groups and specialized panels to discuss the admission roadmap of the two pro-West monarchies to the oil-rich Arab political bloc, according to Jordan's official Petra news agency.
The decision came during the first round of admission talks in Jeddah that involved the foreign ministers of Jordan and Morocco and their counterparts in the GCC countries - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, dpa reported.
The meeting also recommended to the GCC leaders in their next meeting later this year a five-year development plan for Jordan and Morocco, according to a joint communique.
During their last summit in Riyadh in May, the GCC leaders offered Jordan and Morocco an opportunity to join the gathering which was established in 1981.
The offer to Amman and Rabat to join the bloc came in the wake of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that ignited demonstrations in several Arab countries including Bahrain, a GCC member state, and Jordan.
Arab analysts were inclined to exclude the possibility of Morocco, a North African Arab country, joining the alliance, but they supported Jordan's admission due to the geographical proximity it enjoys.
Addressing Sunday's meeting, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh cited "challenges, common values and geography" as the main factors that prompted the GCC to offer his country the chance to join the gathering.
He said that he looked forward to working with his GCC counterparts to come up with "a joint plan that enables us to harmonize administrative and legal systems" between Jordan and the GCC states in the run-up to complete admission.