An Analysis of the Unified Visa Plan of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

2024/06/05 | Economy, interview, top news

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An expert on West Asian issues said: Special sources recently told the "Al-Arabiya" network that a unified Persian Gulf visa plan, which allows its holders to enter all member countries of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council from early next year, 2025, will be implemented. But, in fact, how feasible is this plan? Is it a showoff, or is it going to be followed purposefully?

Davoud Ahmadzadeh said in an interview with the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations website: It is not so easy for the countries of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to follow this path. In order to realize it, the countries of the council must reach relative integration in the economic, commercial, and tourism fields, which seems to be at the beginning of this path at the moment.

Ahmadzadeh analyzed this idea, discussed how the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council was formed, and emphasized: “This council is a regional organization that was formed in 1981 and formulated goals for itself in various fields, especially in the political and economic fields.”

He pointed out: “If we examine the different decades for the implementation of these goals, at first, the goals of this council had been defined mostly in the political and perhaps security spheres and the efforts of the PGCC member states were to achieve a kind of coordination in regional politics and military and security debates.”

This expert explained: “One of the primary goals of the council in the political and security fields was to confront the goals of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and its exports. In the decades after the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the relative calm in the region, the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council tried to prioritize economic issues instead of political and security discussions.

According to this expert, in the past decades, due to various reasons, including conflict of interests, political differences, and some security differences, these efforts to achieve integration and homogeneity in the economic field were not very successful; there was competition between Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar; and even the UAE; regarding oil exploitations and economic discussions and attracting capital from foreign countries such as the United States and Europe had turned this council into a place for competition among the member states themselves. These efforts did not result in a specific settlement.

Emphasizing that the council has tried to follow the European Union’s model in the economic field, the expert on West Asian issues added: “Since 2019 onwards, when relative peace and stability had been established in the region, discussions of economic stability have been raised as the main priority of the council. “The most effective factor in this regard is the diminishing of differences between the PGCC members.

He continued: “For example, after Qatar was expelled from the council for some time due to its connections with the Brotherhood and with Iran and some Resistance groups, Qatar returned to the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council after resolving certain political and security disputes.”

Ahmadzadeh explained: “It seems that today, this council will try to pursue economic issues as an influential component, along with political and security discussions. The Schengen plan in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council also originates from this economic approach.

This expert explained: “The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council is trying to define a unified tourist visa as a travel permit for all the member countries and coordination in the economic field with the aim of creating stability and attracting large investments from the European Union and some investor countries such as China and some other Eastern European countries.

Asked whether the PGCC countries will be successful in following the European Union’s visa pattern, Ahmedzadeh replied: “This issue should be looked at with patience and consideration. It seems that the necessary platforms for the unified visa of the Cooperation Council and its implementation are not easily provided. To realize this, the countries of the council must achieve relative integration in the fields of economy, trade, and tourism, which they seem to be at the beginning of this path.

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