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GCC Summit Cut Short by a Day Amid Diplomatic Rift

A key regional summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been cut short and will conclude on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, with all the delegates leaving Kuwait after a closed session.

The Kuwait summit takes place exactly six months after three of the member states severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar.

The move comes as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that it had formed a new economic and military partnership with Saudi Arabia separate from the GCC.

“So far it is not looking promising at the summit after the limited optimism in the beginning when the six member states agreed that they would meet in Kuwait to break the diplomatic impasse,” said Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Kuwait City.

“Bahrain has decided to send a third level diplomat, the deputy prime minister and Saudi Arabia has sent Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir instead of a royal family member.

“It’s clear the summit won’t yield any of the positive outcomes that we thought.”

‘The GCC is effectively dead’

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has arrived in Kuwait City for the summit, but heads of states from the three blockading countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain – will not make it to the summit.

Oman said that a high ranking official would represent Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, while Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir will lead the Saudi delegation at the 38th annual summit.

The agenda of this year’s summit, one of the most significant official encounters since the crisis erupted in June, has not been made public, but the Gulf crisis will be a top priority.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE cut ties with Qatar on June 5 after accusing it of supporting “terrorism”, allegations that Qatar strongly denies.

“It seems that there is an intention by the by the Saudis and Emiratis, especially with the timing of the announcement [of the new partnership] today, to say that the GCC is effectively dead,” said Majed al-Ansari from Qatar University.

“It is clear now that Emiratis and Saudis have no intention of supporting stability in the GCC, no intention of supporting Kuwait’s mediation efforts, and no intention to end the crisis one or other.”


Read full article on Aljazeera, December 5, 2017

Country: Kuwait
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