DUBAI, 26th September, 2023 (WAM) - H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council (DMC), today attended a session titled 'The Arabian Gulf's Future Amidst Regional Conflict' at the 21st Arab Media Forum, being held from 26-27 September under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Mona Al Marri, Vice Chairperson and Managing Director of the Dubai Media Council, and President of Dubai Press Club, also attended the session which featured Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, who highlighted the growing role of the GCC on the global stage driven by its balanced diplomacy. The session was moderated by Chantal Saliba, Journalist at Sky News Arabia.
Al-Budaiwi said the GCC maintains an impartial stance, equidistant from all parties involved reflected in the meetings held by GCC leaders with both US President Joe Biden in July 2022, and Chinese President Xi Jinping in December 2022.
He emphasised the importance of Saudi-Iranian reconciliation in fostering regional stability despite sporadic tensions like the recent Houthi drone attack on the Yemen-Saudi border that killed two Bahraini soldiers. The Secretary-General said he had a constructive meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on the sidelines of the recent UN General Assembly in New York. He praised the exceptional political and military coordination among GCC states but acknowledged the need for greater economic collaboration.
He emphasised that GCC leaders must wholeheartedly embrace long-term economic integration since it is beneficial for the region. He outlined the economic strengths of the GCC, noting that it has the world's eighth largest economy and a GDP of US$2.4 trillion. The region has an annual growth rate of approximately 6%, which is targeted to be raised to US$6 trillion by 2050. Further, he noted that GCC conducts US$107 billion worth of intra-regional trade and GCC sovereign funds manage investments worth US$3.25 trillion.