EU regrets postponing free trade accord with GCC - European official

Kuwait News Agency

EU regrets postponing free trade accord with GCC - European official

By Mahdi Al-Nimr

20 December 2005

ROME, Dec 20 (KUNA) — European Commissioner for Justice Franco Fratini expressed on Tuesday regret because the GCC Summit postponed yesterday signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, calling on Gulf states to advance cooperation with the EU.

In a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Fratini said that he sensed willingness to cooperate with the EU during his meeting with GCC foreign ministers; however, he said that GCC sates have not taken adequate steps to advance cooperation with the EU.

He described the GCC Summit’s decision to postpone signing the FTA with the EU as a hiatus, stressing that Europe has been ready to work with Gulf states toward better cooperation.

He noted that encouraging inter-cultural and inter-religions dialogue, fighting terrorism and intensifying economic cooperation topped the agenda of GCC-EU relations.

Fratini noted that cooperation could be triggered between the two entities by liberating the movement of European and Gulf businessmen to and from the two regions, which shared distinguished relations.

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