(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) In a speech to Sultan Qaboos University's (SQU) Department of Political Science, the former commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), Mohammed al Ardhi, said that maintaining security in the Gulf region would not only benefit GCC member countries, but also the 'world at large'.
According to a press release, Ardhi said, ''The Strait of Hormuz is but one example of the opportunities and risks associated with the Gulf's strategic geographical location and its role as a world trade hub.''
''Our trade with Iran reached US600mn in 2013, this figure is a three-fold increase over 2010. If sanctions on Iran are fully lifted, we will benefit further. Peace and cooperation can only lead to greater economic vitality. Investor interest in Oman has soared since it hosted talks between the US and Iran that led to the interim deal on Iran's nuclear programme,'' he added in the speech delivered on Tuesday.
Ardhi, who is now the chairman of National Bank of Oman, also outlined the challenges and opportunities for the GCC region, while identifying external influences, and their implications in social and economic developments. He proposed solutions that could be put in place to aid security and fuel prosperity.
Identifying the key challenges that plague the region today, Ardhi pointed to the prospect of a nuclear Iran, recent tensions within the GCC, declining fossil fuel resources and the increasing shift towards Asia in the trade and commerce domains by members of the GCC and the US.
He also stressed on the use of economic, rather than military power, as a means of exercising influence in the 21st century. ''To prevent another Yemen from developing in the region, we in the GCC must create a positive security dynamic in which regional co-operation with domestic, economic and social reform help achieve long-term stability.''
The audience included faculty members and students from Sultan Qaboos University's International Relations and Security Studies Master's Program.
Dr Cuneyt Yenigun, acting head of department, Political Science, College of Economics & Political Science, SQU, said, ''Mohammed al Ardhi's session was extremely informative, covering the numerous facets of security and their implications for the GCC. It was an honour to welcome him on stage and allow him to share his thoughts and expertise with the students and faculty