GCC leaders urge end of “aggression” on Gaza

Approve monetary union pact, call for stability of oil prices


Gulf Arab leaders called for an end to Israeli "aggression" on Gaza on Tuesday, after a regional summit in the Omani capital and urged an end to relentless air raids that have killed at least 363 Palestinians since Saturday.

"The summit called for making urgent contacts with the United Nations security council to ... stop this aggression," Abdel-Rahman al-Attiyah, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), told reporters.

The leaders of the oil rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in a statement issued at the end of their annual summit in the Omani capital, also called on Israel to lift its blockade on all Palestinian territories.

"The GCC severely condemns this Israeli aggression and holds Israel responsible for the dangerous course events have taken, as a result of its inhumane policies towards the Palestinian people," the statement said.

It called at the same time on the conflicting Palestinian factions "to reconcile in these difficult times."

The GCC leaders also approved in their summit a monetary union agreement that would pave the way for a single currency, a senior Gulf Cooperation Council official said.

"The monetary union has been approved. They have not decided the location (of the common central bank), hopefully within the next five months," Naser al-Kaud, deputy assistant secretary-general of the GCC secretariat told Reuters after the summit.

They also called on officials in the top oil-exporting region to work towards stable oil prices and to coordinate efforts to reduce the impact of the global financial crisis on its economies.

The GCC groups Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.