Analysis: Gulf heads absence from GCC summit not good sign



Tue, 05 Dec 2017 - 12:50 GMT


Tue, 05 Dec 2017 - 12:50 GMT

Kuwaiti and foreign journalists gather at the media centre hall during the GCC summit in Kuwait City - AFP

Kuwaiti and foreign journalists gather at the media centre hall during the GCC summit in Kuwait City - AFP

CAIRO – 5 December 2017: The six-Gulf Cooperation Council annual summit is taking place in Kuwait on December 5 and 6, despite June-row between Qatar and three Gulf states, and Egypt.

The Qatari emir has arrived in Kuwait to attend the 38th Gulf summit, while Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini majesties have not.

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday in order to attend the 38th summit for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) scheduled to take place on December 5-6, according to Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdel Aziz will not take part in the summit, instead he sent his foreign minister to lead the Saudi delegation, Kuwaiti state television reported as Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah received Saudi Arabia’s FM Adel al-Jubeir and other Saudi top diplomats.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (L), who arrived in Kuwait to attend the 38th GCC summit and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, December 5, 2017- Press Photo

On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain decided to cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, hurling allegations that the state destabilizes the region by supporting terrorism and allying with the regional foe Iran.

Host nation Kuwait, which is leading mediation efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis, and Qatar are the only members of the six-nation alliance (GCC) to send top-level representation_ their respective emirs_ to attend the summit.

News reports speculated the two-day summit may be concluded on Tuesday evening, without resuming the summit for a second day.

Earlier, well-informed Arab diplomats, asked to remain anonymous, expected that Qatar’s Tamim would apologize to Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz during the Gulf summit.

In October, Bahrain openly called for Qatar's membership of the GCC to be suspended until it accepts the Arab Quartet's demands.

Bahrain sent its deputy prime minister to the summit, and Emirati media said its state minister for foreign affairs would represent Abu Dhabi.

Bahraini Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla bin Faisal bin Jabur Al Doseri- Press Photo

"On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the Assistant Foreign Minister, Abdulla bin Faisal bin Jabur al-Doseri, took part in the GCC Ministers of Foreign Affairs preparatory meeting for the 38th GCC Summit, held (Monday) in Kuwait,” according to the Bahraini Foreign Ministry.

Oman has said it will be sending a senior official to represent its ruler Sultan Qaboos, who traditionally stays away from summits.

Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash heads the Emirati delegation to the GCC summit as he arrived in Kuwait on December 4.

On Tuesday morning, hours before the summit was scheduled to begin, the United Arab Emirates announced it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia, separate from the GCC— a move that could undermine the council amid a diplomatic crisis with member state Qatar.

The Emirati Foreign Ministry announcement said the new "joint cooperation committee" was approved by the UAE’s ruler and President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nayhan.
The Emirati ministry said the new "committee is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as other fields, in the interest of the two countries."

The GCC was founded in 1981 representing a Gulf political and economic union grouping Qatar with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Oman and Kuwait.



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