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Prospects for GCC summit dim amid Qatar crisis

Kuwait says it remains optimistic a breakthrough in mediation efforts will happen

Image Credit: Istockphoto
The December summit in Kuwait may be postponed or cancelled after the worst crisis within the alliance erupted on June 5 when Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar.
Gulf News

Manama: Despite Kuwait’s announcement that it was ready to host the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in December, the chances of holding it seem to be increasingly dimming.

“Kuwait has not so far received anything from the GCC Secretariat General regarding the summit,” Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Al Jarallah said.

“There are no contacts among the GCC leaders about the summit and all GCC meetings are currently suspended. The main reasons are attributed to the Gulf dispute, but there may be other considerations of which the GCC Secretariat General is aware,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah.

The GCC, launched in 1981, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Its leaders hold an annual summit in their capitals on a rotational basis. They also hold an informal summit in May in the GCC headquarters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The December summit in Kuwait may be postponed or cancelled after the worst crisis within the alliance erupted on June 5 when Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar accusing it of supporting extremists and funding extremism.

Kuwait has been leading mediation efforts, but four months into the standoff, no breakthrough has been achieved.

“We will continue with our efforts until we reach a happy ending,” Al Jarallah said.

“We are aware that there are positive and negative reports about the situation, but we want to remain optimistic and look at the glass as half full. We do have a strong hope that the positive aspect will prevail.”

Al Jarallah added that the mediation efforts have gained an international stature, particularly that the United Nations has openly supported it.

Doubts have also been cast on holding the Gulf Cup of Nations scheduled in Qatar from December 22 to January 5.

The tournament brings together the six GCC countries, Iraq and Yemen.

Despite the high level of uncertainty, Qatar said that it was ready to host the cup and went ahead with the draw late last month.

Manama, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi insist that Doha meet the 13 demands they issued in June to iron out their differences.

However, Doha has invariably dodged the issue and kept looking for assistance from European countries and the US, claiming that it was being ill-treated and subjected to a blockade. Its arguments have been regularly rejected by the other three GCC countries as “totally groundless” and were “cheap escapism”.

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