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GCC summit could be postponed amid Qatar crisis

Kuwaiti mediation efforts to bring the two sides together have failed to produce results

Gulf News

Dubai: The next summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, could be held in Riyadh and not in Kuwait, reports from London said.

The summit is held annually on a rotation basis in one of the member capitals and Kuwait was last year designated to host the one in December this year.

However, with relations between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one side and Qatar on the other reaching their lowest ebb since the GCC was founded in 1981, doubts were cast about holding it.

Manama, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo on June 5 severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar accusing it of supporting and harbouring extremists and of funding terrorism.

Fellow GCC member Kuwait has launched mediation efforts to bring the two sides together, but Qatar’s refusal to respond to the 13 demands made by the other countries in order to iron out difference has stalled the Kuwaiti drive supported by the UN and several countries.

Kuwait last week said they were ready to host the summit in December amid hopes that the dispute would be over or reduced to a minimum by then, but added that it had received no notification from the GCC Secretariat General headquartered in Riyadh.

In London, Arabic online newspaper Elaph quoted sources as saying the summit would most likely be postponed this year.

“There will be no summit in December as the mediation efforts to settle the crisis have not made a breakthrough or thinned the tension yet,” the sources that Elaph did not identify said.

“Even if it is held, it will be in Riyadh and no invitation will be sent to Qatar to participate despite the pressure being built up by Doha that no GCC summit could be held without its attendance.”

The sources, based in Washington, according to Elaph, said that “a new GCC would be formed but would compromise only three countries that will unify their policies to work together for the benefit and interests of the region.”

The online newspaper added that a study conducted in London concluded that the current crisis would either lead to Qatar exiting the alliance and leaving it with five member countries or to the whole GCC, the only stable alliance in the region, collapsing.

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