Dubai: The possible process of freezing Qatar’s membership of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could be initiated by a single member state, the GCC statute stipulates.

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

As a deepening dispute that emerged publicly last month between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one side and Qatar on the other is not showing signs of abating, senior officials, including Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, have been hinting at a “divorce” that would see Qatar out of the alliance that has so far weather various types of crises.

Under the GCC bylaws, a member’s suspension talks have to be held at an extraordinary session of the GCC Supreme Council convened at the request of any member seconded by another member.

The meeting must be held within a maximum of five days of the call and will be considered valid only if at least four of the six member states attend it.

Should there be a request to hold an extraordinary meeting in the case of Qatar, it will have to be chaired by Kuwait or Oman as they are the only two countries not involved directly in the dispute, Saudi daily Makkah reported on Wednesday.

Article Seven of the bylaws stipulates that the chair of the annual GCC session involved in a pending issue cannot chair the meeting dedicated to discussing the issue. The Supreme Council has to designate an interim chair for the meeting.

Contrary to procedural issues that require decisions to be issued by a majority, the Qatari situation is considered a substantive issue and an agreement on any decision by the Supreme Council will be sufficient, the daily said.

Each member state has one vote and has the right to abstain from voting. No proxy voting is allowed and no country can represent or vote in lieu of another member.

The order of voting follows the Arabic alphabet, meaning that the UAE goes first, followed by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.