The Associated Press | May 25, 2008
Arab Gulf states disappointed with talks on free trade pact with EU
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s foreign minister says Arab Gulf states are "disappointed" with the slow pace of their negotiations with the European Union on a free trade pact.
The state-owned Kuwait News Agency quotes Sheik Mohammed Al Sabah as saying talks are at a "critical stage." He spoke Sunday before leaving to Brussels for a meeting between the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and the EU to discuss the agreement.
The 27-nation EU is the largest trading partner with the GCC, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Sheik Mohammed did not elaborate, but EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said last year that restrictions on foreign ownership in Arab Gulf countries were a major sticking point in the talks.