GCC summit: Second day cancelled amid Qatar row

'The last six months have witnessed a rift in our Gulf home, but we must look to rebuild as the GCC has achieved a great many things, and still has a long road ahead,' said Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, who has led mediation efforts on the Doha crisis

A general view of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, which launches its annual summit today in Kuwait amid its deepest ever internal crisis, comprises six Arab monarchies who sit on a third of the world's oil. A political and economic union, the GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Dominated by Riyadh, it is a major regional counterweight to rival Iran.
 / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE

This year's annual GCC summit closed on Tuesday after just one day of meetings in Kuwait City, with Kuwait's emir saying the council's leaders had managed to calm the situation in a reference to the row between members states the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and Qatar.

The summit, which opened on Tuesday, was supposed to last two days but Wednesday's scheduled meetings were cancelled with the closing address coming on Tuesday evening.

"The last six months have witnessed a rift in our Gulf home, but we must look to rebuild as the GCC has achieved a great many things, and still has a long road ahead," said Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, who has led mediation efforts on the Doha crisis.

Despite "negative developments and sorrowful events" over the past six months, GCC leaders have managed to calm the situation which is an important step in addressing the recent feud, he added, according to Kuwait's state news agency (Kuna).

"Any dispute on the Gulf level must not affect the continuation of the summit," he said.

_____________

Read more: GCC summit must seek to end Qatar crisis, Kuwait foreign minister says

_____________

Sheikh Sabah called for the formation of a committee to look into modifying the GCC's statute, saying such a step would help the council to continue its leading political role in the Gulf, Kuna reported.

Faisal Al Mutlaqem, of Kuwait’s ministry of communications, had earlier said the two-day agenda for the gathering was set regardless of who attended or what was happening in the region externally, amid reports that the summit would be held for one day only.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir, Bahrain’s deputy prime minister, Mohammed bin Mubarak, and Oman’s deputy prime minister, Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud, had arrived in the Kuwaiti capital on Tuesday morning to take part in the summit, which is normally attended by heads of state. Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad arrived in the city later in the day.

The gathering, which was held behind closed doors, placed Sheikh Tamim in the same room as representatives of the countries that have boycotted Doha since June 5 over its alleged support of extremist groups.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain — all members of the GCC — together with Egypt, have cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Doha.

According to the agenda for the annual meeting, the summit was supposed to have comprised of four sessions.

The first session was scheduled to open at Bayan Palace at 5.30pm, after which representatives were set to attend an official dinner hosted by Sheikh Sabah.

Representatives had then been expected to convene for a second closed session at 11.30am on Wednesday before a joint press conference scheduled for 12.30pm between Kuwait’s first deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, secretary general of the GCC.

_____________

Read more:

Editorial: The GCC is a symbol of unity and strength in times of trouble

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS