Riyadh: Gulf Arab leaders gather on Tuesday for an annual summit expected to stress cohesion after a deep rift, at a time of regional concern over Iran.
The Saudi crown prince toured Gulf states ahead of the summit, which comes nearly a year after Riyadh put an end to a 3-1/2-year Arab boycott of Qatar.
Saudi Arabia and non-Gulf Egypt have restored diplomatic ties with Doha.
“I have to admit there are areas that will need some time, but I mean practical, functional (Gulf) cooperation is back on track,” Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said last week.
Saudi media said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tour aimed to highlight solidarity as global powers seek to revive a nuclear pact with Iran, amid deepening Gulf uncertainty about the US role in the region.
Gulf states, concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile programme and regional proxies, are engaging with Tehran to contain tension.
The talks between the Saudi Crown Prince and leaders of the other five Gulf nations focussed on their countries’ shared destiny and the need to seriously deal with Tehran’s nuclear and missile issue.
The joint statements issued at the conclusion of Prince’s Mohammed’s tour ushered in a new phase of cooperation aiming to take GCC joint action to a higher level of coordination, to collectively deal with political issues.
The summit offers an opportunity for the six Gulf nations to give a boost to the rapprochement between Qatar on one hand, and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on the other.
The Riyadh summit also offers GCC leaders an opportunity to strengthen their coordination in the security and political fields, and chart a roadmap that allows them to deal with many challenges faced by GCC countries, and focus on ways to meet the aspirations of the Gulf people.
It also increases optimism that GCC leaders will come up with a more unified stance to activate the joint action and find solutions to pending issues, such as the joint market.