Gulf Arabs Urged To Take Up Globalization Challenge

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Europe have set out a new vision of relationship following the opening of a high profile Eurogolfe Conference here last night. “People in the Gulf should take up the challenge and play their role in globalization, while retaining their identity,” said Prince Turki ibn Mohammed Al-Kabeer, assistant undersecretary for political affairs and head of the department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his inaugural address, Prince Turki said that the “the three-day Eurogolfe Conference will discuss several regional issues as the region is facing a real crisis.” The event, he said, will help promote understanding between the two blocs — the GCC and Europe. The event has been organized by the Riyadh-based Institute of Diplomatic Studies in collaboration with the Eurogolfe network of researchers, under the theme “Europe and the Gulf, A Step Forward.”

Prince Turki said, “Europe seeks to strengthen its relations with countries of the region, based on dialogue and joint work.” He lauded the relationship between the Kingdom and France, and said that joint work between the European and Gulf countries would widen the scope of cooperation between the two sides in the best interests of the whole region.

“We are looking forward to having mechanisms for better coordination and the development of relations, that is why we will provide thinkers, intellectuals and different institutions in both communities the chance to meet and exchange ideas and expertise,” he said. He hoped that the conference would help portray a more vivid image about the Gulf countries.

French Ambassador Charles-Henri d’Aragon said, “The Gulf and Europe have many things in common, which can form a good basis for cooperation.” He also spoke high about Saudi-French relations, saying that Europe does not seek to dominate or dictate but rather seeks to promote human development without changing identities of any given human community.

A cross-section of academicians and researchers later commended the GCC states, saying that these states have exerted great efforts in areas of openness, women participation in public life and many other reforms. They added that Europe and the Islamic world have been in close contact for centuries, and called for “more constructive dialogue.”

The Eurogolfe, a network of research and information in political and social science, was born in France in 2002 at the L’Institut des etudes Politiques de Paris.

The participants of the conference said that the Eurogolfe 2007 acts as an actual platform for enhancing the dialogue of culture and civilization between Europe and the Gulf region, in tackling vital economic, social, scientific and political issues of common interest. They hoped that the next three days of discussions and debate would go a long way in forging ties between the two blocs.

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