The prime minister of unrest-wracked Bahrain says Gulf Arab leaders are ready for closer ties on security and foreign policy issues to confront pressures such as Arab Spring uprisings and tensions with Iran.
The Gulf Cooperation Council is scheduled to meet Monday in Riyadh to examine ideas for greater union. Proposals have included more open borders and a regional defense force.
Bahrain's prime minister, Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, was quoted Sunday by a Saudi newspaper as saying that he expects union plans to move ahead. Calls have intensified during the 15-month uprising against Bahrain's monarchy. Iran's nuclear program has also stoked concerns.
The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.