Once again, Bahrain receives recognition from yet another global body, by being the host for the 23rd Joint GCC-EU Ministerial Meeting that began yesterday.
Exactly one week ago the global 2013 United Nations Public Services Forum was held here for four days. Organised by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and Bahrain’s eGovernment Authority it had around 700 delegates attending, including 550 from 97 countries.
The fact that United Nations and European Union are choosing Bahrain as a venue for such conferences and meets is a positive sign that reflects not only this country’s stability and security but also its wise socio-economic growth strategies.
Now,this Joint GCC-EU Ministerial Meeting, chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, with the Representative of the EU High Commission for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Katherine Ashton is a major milestone in the relationship of GCC states with the States of the European Union.
Many readers would be happy to note that this meeting comes as part of a consistent series of previous meetings convened over 23 years since the 1988 Cooperation Frame Agreement was signed between the two sides, GCC and Europe, establishing a contractual relationship to consolidate comprehensive mutual cooperation.
Attended by Foreign Ministers of many of these nations, the focus would be on bilateral interests, but among the items on the agenda is terrorism.
And I found it pertinent, when in a press conference earlier to the event, that Bahrain Foreign Minister condemned worldwide terrorism and said that Bahrain is also facing the problem referring to attacks on Bahrain police, as an example. He stressed that GCC / EU joint efforts must curb this menace.
Ms Ashton assured the GCC region of help from EU, and that is a small indication of the big step that nations must collectively take to overcome the problem of terrorism.
A quick solution to the Syrian problem, the GCC initiative in Yemen, the new leadership of Iran, support for Palestine are high on the points that will be discussed.
But I am also glad to hear that the GCC- EU Free Trade Agreement is in final stages.
All said and done, the fact that EU and UN events are being held here is a wonderful sign of this small country’s ability to host major international events. All citizens and residents must do their best in supporting them because such events ultimately give Bahrain a healthy global recognition.