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UAE open to unified currency

business Updated: Dec 06, 2010 21:11 IST

At a time when the European Union is struggling to preserve the sanctity — and relevance — of the unified currency euro, the UAE has said it has not given up on a unified currency for the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

The UAE, the second-largest Arab economy and the world's third largest oil exporter, had last year opted out of the GCC plans for monetary union. It was the second country in the six-nation body to withdraw — Oman had previously said its economy was not ready yet.

However, UAE’s economy minister Sultan al-Mansouri on Sunday indicated that the UAE could be back on track to support monetary union talks.

“I look forward that one day there would be a unified currency for the people of the Gulf,” Mansouri said in an interview to a Saudi Arabian daily.

The minister's statements came on the eve of the annual summit of the GCC leaders in Abu Dhabi.

“I think such issues must be raised and discussed at such summit, and there must be an evaluation of the dimension of the issue and how to reach a compromise for all sides,” he said.

In May 2009, the UAE withdrew from the plans in protest of a decision to place the GCC central bank in Saudi Arabia; the UAE had bid to host it from 2004 to 2009.

“Here in the UAE, we believe that the Gulf states share the same destiny, whether economically, politically, or socially. We are one people,” he said.

Founded in 1981, the GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The six states together hold around 45% of the global oil reserves and produce 16 million barrels of crude oil daily. Their currencies are among the strongest in the world.