Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Qatari Crisis Casts a Shadow over the GCC Summit

Qatari Crisis Casts a Shadow over the GCC Summit

Wednesday, 6 December, 2017 - 08:30
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah gestures during a news conference with Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, following the annual summit of GCC, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The Qatari crisis weighed heavily on the Gulf Summit held on Tuesday in Kuwait, the first since the Gulf dispute broke out with Qatar on June 5.

The majority of Gulf leaders, most notably the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, did not attend the summit, highlighting a deep crisis and lack of any political solution.

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, presided over the Gulf Summit and was keen to welcome the heads of delegations at the airport. The Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, was the only Gulf leader to arrive in Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, while the Bahraini delegation was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa and the UAE was represented by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.

There were reports that the summit would witness a process of “breaking the ice” led by the Emir of Kuwait, but observers stressed that no settlement would succeed unless Qatar works to achieve Gulf interests and publicly withdraw its current policy in the region.

Although some observers suggested that Kuwait was counting heavily on the summit to bring about reconciliation between the Gulf states, the atmosphere of the ministerial meeting, which was held on Monday, highlighted a deteriorating crisis as reports emerged on disagreements witnessed during the meeting and the foreign ministers of the six countries declined to make any statements afterwards.

In a remarkable development, the UAE said it wanted to form a joint committee with Saudi Arabia on economic, political and military issues aimed at boosting bilateral ties, highlighting that the two countries did not want differences within the GCC to affect further development of cooperation.

For his part, the Emir of Qatar expressed his hope that the Gulf Summit would contribute to maintaining the security and stability of the region.

In a press statement upon his arrival in Kuwait, he stressed that the summit was held amid sensitive conditions, hoping that the meeting would respond to challenges facing the region.

“We hope that the summit will meet the aspirations of our peoples in consolidating cooperation and solidarity and achieve the objectives of our Council,” he stated.

Editor Picks