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Gulf Arab states boost joint forces

ABU DHABI - The Gulf Arab states agreed yesterday to bolster their token joint forces into a deterrent army, effectively ruling out military co-operation with Egypt and Syria, AFP reports. At the end of a two-day meeting, defence ministers of the six nations of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) approved plans to strengthen their Peninsula Shield force which is 4,500 strong

The force, set up in 1984 and based in Hafr al-Batin, northern Saudi Arabia, will be equipped with an advanced early warning system covering the region, including parts of Iran and Iraq. 'The ministers have decided to develop the force to ensure the region's security and stability,' the GCC Secretary General Fahim ibn Sultan al-Qassimi said after the meeting in Abu Dhabi.