GCC summit 181208
GCC summit Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh - Bahrain’s foreign minister criticised Qatar’s emir on Sunday for not attending the annual Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, a decision that shows there is little hope for an imminent resolution of a rift between Doha and three Gulf Arab states.

Qatar sent its state minister for foreign affairs to the summit.

More on 39th GCC summit

“Qatar’s emir should have accepted the fair demands [of the Arab Qaurtet] and attended the summit,” foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said in a tweet.

The 39th Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) annual summit is set to open in Riyadh on Sunday. Saudi Arabia has hosted seven GCC summits since the inception of the six-member alliance in May 1981.

Qatar’s emir attended last year’s gathering in Kuwait, while Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain sent more junior officials.

King Salman was shown on Saudi TV greeting Kuwaiti, Omani and UAE officials upon their arrival on Sunday for the one-day gathering of the six member states that is expected to focus on security issues, including the Yemen war and Iran’s regional activities.

Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa will lead the Bahraini delegation while Kuwait said Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah will lead Kuwait’s delegation to the summit. Kuwait is the current president of the GCC Summit after it was held in Kuwait in December last year. Fahad Bin Mahmoud Al Saeed, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, will represent Oman.

The meeting will focus on enhancing joint action in social, political, security and economic areas. It will also address ways to promote Gulf integration, as well as issues related to maintaining the region’s security and stability.

The UAE delegation to the Riyadh summit will be headed by his Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.