RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has urged the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations to move from cooperation to full unity.

“I urge you all to move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity,” he told his counterparts at the opening of the annual GCC summit here Monday.

King Abdullah’s call to form a strong union came against the backdrop of regional political turmoil and growing threats.

King Abdullah also reaffirmed the need to transform the GCC into a strong unified entity without giving details. He stressed the need to help all brothers in the Arab world, and called on them to “refrain from conflicts and bloodshed.”

He also called on the Gulf governments “to stand united and vigilant” to confront challenges. He said that the GCC has to adapt to the new circumstances in the Middle East following the uprisings that swept some Arab countries earlier this year.

“We have learned from history and experience not to stand still when faced with reality,” the king told the gathering, mainly composed of the members of royal families in the Gulf countries, royal court advisers, top government officials and civil servants.

The king further said: “Whoever remains a mere spectator, will be lost... That is something we will not accept for the sake of our countries, our people, our stability and security.”

King Abdullah, who spoke at the ceremonial Diraiyya Palace, praised the resilience of GCC citizens and called for “continued vigilance against enemies of peace and security.”

Over four hundred top GCC officials attended the inaugural ceremony.