GCC surprise meeting ends rift with Qatar
GCC leaders held an emergency summit in Riyadh late Sunday to resolve the rift between three GCC countries and Qatar ahead of a scheduled annual summit in Doha next month.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah chaired the summit attended by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and UAE Deputy Premier Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani also attended the talks and his delegation included Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa and Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Atiyyah.
“At the beginning of the summit, King Abdullah welcomed the four GCC leaders,” the Saudi Press Agency said, adding that they discussed a number of issues that concern Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.
Prince Muqrin, deputy crown prince, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, secretary-general of National Security Council, Prince Khaled bin Bandar, chief of intelligence, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard, and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif attended the talks.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from fellow GCC member Qatar in March, accusing it of undermining their domestic security through its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim on Tuesday invited his fellow GCC rulers to Doha for the summit, but diplomats have said some of them wanted to move it elsewhere.
“There will be a meeting this evening. I hope they will reach a compromise on this dispute, that will enable the annual meeting to go forward,” a GCC official told Reuters before the summit.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Kuwait has attempted to mediate between its fellow GCC members.
Qatar was scheduled to host a meeting of the GCC Ministerial Council last week to discuss the agenda for the annual summit but was postponed without giving any reason.
Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah was mediating between Qatar and the three other member states over the past weeks. A Kuwaiti official, who requested anonymity, said the mediation helped in resolving most outstanding issues.
“Sheikh Sabah’s mediation resulted in confirming the holding of the annual summit in Doha as per schedule,” the official said, adding that the Kuwaiti emir was instrumental in narrowing the differences between the four member states.