Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid receives invitation to GCC summit

Saudi Arabia will host the summit on January 5 and leaders from the six-nation bloc will participate in person

FILE PHOTO: Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) arrive, ahead of an annual leaders summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2019. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has received an official invitation to attend the GCC summit in Riyadh next month on behalf of President Sheikh Khalifa.

Saudi Arabia will host the in-person meeting on January 5, which will be attended by leaders of the six-nation bloc.

Sheikh Mohammed received the invitation during a meeting with the GCC Secretary General Dr Nayef Al Hajraf, in Dubai. They discussed "ways to advance co-operation, co-ordination and solidarity between the GCC states to achieve comprehensive integration at various levels, especially the economy, security, defence and other areas that benefit the peoples and member states," the state news agency Wam reported.

The GCC states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar – come together every year to discuss trade and security co-operation.

Emir Tamim Al Thani of Qatar is expected to attend for the first time since a dispute led three GCC members – Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain – to snap ties with Doha in 2017, although Qatar's prime minister attended the summit last year.

The three countries accuse Qatar of interfering in their internal affairs and supporting extremist groups across the region.