190909 Anwar Gargash
Anwar Gargash Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met Monday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, to prepare for the bloc’s annual summit scheduled for Tuesday. The summit of the six-nation council is expected to be dominated by Iran’s meddlesome acts and efforts to resolve a long-running row between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc.

Addressing the preparatory meeting, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash highlighted the objectives of the GCC created in 1981.

“The Cooperation Council is an expression of convergent will and aspirations of leaders with hopes of the council’s countries for establishing a system based on cooperation and consensus on policies and stances enhancing security and stability of the region and contributing to all-out development to fulfil stability, growth and welfare for our countries and our people’s happiness,” Dr Gargash said, according to the official Saudi news agency.

Dr Gargash underlined the importance of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs among the member states.

The GCC comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

This year’s GCC summit is held amid growing signs of a thaw in the dispute that has pitted Qatar against an Arab quartet for more than two years.

Secretary General Abdul Latif Al Zayani voiced confidence that the summit will be “constructive and produce effective decisions” without giving details. Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sultan Bin Saad Al Muraikhi attended the pre-summit talks on Monday.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for extremist groups.

The four countries have repeatedly demanded Doha to comply with a set of conditions to end the standoff. The demands include Qatar’s severance of links with militant and terror groups, scaling down ties with Iran and shutting down Al Jazeera TV, seen as a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar has refused the conditions, saying they violate its sovereignty.

Last week, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman confirmed reports about talks between his country and Saudi Arabia to end the Gulf feud.

In the run-up to the Riyadh summit, Kuwait has intensified its efforts to defuse the Gulf crisis and suggested that its bid is bearing fruit.