Foreign labour to top agenda at Gulf meet

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Dubai, Nov 30 (UNI) Foreign labour and the issue of expatriates are on the top agenda of the six Gulf leaders at the summit opening at Doha on Sunday along with other issues like Gulf security and energy policies.

Some Gulf states like Bahrain have voiced concern on huge exodus of capital from the Gulf nations affecting their economy due to loss of foreign exchange as a result of remittances by the expatriate population residing there to their home countries.

The labour policies and a proposal by Bahrain to put a six-year cap on foreign labour will be among the most difficult issues to be addressed at the summit.

''The main issue is financial. The large amount of money being sent out of the region is an on-going problem as is the presence of a majority expatriate population.'' said an expert.

''Labour reform in terms of putting a cap on the amount of time certain groups of expatriates can live in the GCC is a more pressing issue for Bahrain given its large unemployment problem, but is not an issue shared by some of its neighbours which complicates a GCC-wide agreement being reached,'' said Mr Wright, who specialises on Gulf politics, Gulf News reported.

There are more than 3.8 million Indian expatriates working in the Persian Gulf states and this is a major contribution to the economic growth and stability of not only these states but also of India.

The two-day meeting is scheduled to take place on December 3 and 4 will be preceded by ministerial consultations on Sunday that will put the final touches to the programme of the discussions.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected to take part in the summit this year with its King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz expected to take part in the summit.

The Qatar GCC summit in 2002 was boycotted by the Saudis due a row between the two countries over Al Jazeera's controversial news coverage of Saudi affairs.

Leaders of Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and United Arab Emirates in addition to the GCC Secretariat are slated to attend the upcoming conference.


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