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GCC Defense Ministers say armed forces integration key to protecting member states

(With photos) ABU DHABI, Nov 22 (KUNA) -- Defense ministers in the six GCC countries underlined Tuesday that building a joint defense system, via full integration among armed forces, was the most "active practical" option to defending the Arab Gulf countries' security, stability, sovereignty and resources.
The ministers discussed in their meeting joint defensive cooperation and how it would help the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to addressing current circumstances and challenges, a final statement issued after the meeting said.
The ministers, preparing for next month's GCC summit in Saudi Arabia, took note of the deployment of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain to protect some vital installations during the unrest in the Gulf island.
The top officials reaffirmed support and solidarity with Bahrain to defending its stability, sovereignty and independence, said the statement.
They also voiced relief for the performance of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain.
The GCC defense ministers also discussed challenges facing marine navigation specially in the Arabian Gulf, Sea of Oman and Red Sea. They, thus, agreed to establish a Bahrain-based coordination center for marine security and to continue studies to create the joint naval forces.
The ministers, regarding threats posed by deployment of ballistic missiles, decided to continue studies to possess an early warning system to facing these threats.
They called for the development of the military cooperation and communication network between the GCC member states. The ministers also approved recommendations of the military committee over military cooperation and other defense-related matters.
Kuwait was represented by First Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. (end) bmj.bs KUNA 222341 Nov 11NNNN