May 13th, 2012
04:43 AM ET

Gulf leaders to discuss EU-style union

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council will hold a meeting Monday in Saudi Arabia to discuss transforming their six nations into a union, similar to the European Union.

The idea of the GCC nations to integrate into one entity - and replace what exists now as simply a cooperative - was first floated by Saudi Arabia in December. Monday's meeting in Riyadh will lay out the timetable for it.

The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

"The threats of all kinds require the hard works of the GCC countries to shift from a current formula of cooperation to a union formula acceptable to the six countries," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said last month.

He didn't specify what threats he was referring to. But some analysts have said the GCC move could be an effort to counter the growing influence of Shiite Iran.

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