RIYADH, Dec 6, (Agencies): Leaders of the GCC countries will convene in Riyadh on December ninth, Sunday, to partake in the 39th Arab Gulf Summit under the chairmanship of King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, said Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani, Secretary General of the GCC, Thursday.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Al-Zayani told would discuss a number of important issues in the joint action and achievements in the framework of the Gulf States’ integration and cooperation. Reports and recommendations submitted by relevant specialized ministerial committees and the General Secretariat will also be touched upon, said the official.
The GCC Secretary General pointed out that the session will also review latest regional and international political developments and security situations in the region. He expressed his hope that the summit will come out with constructive and fruitful results that would deepen GCC cooperation and integration in various fields and realize the aspirations of its citizens to face all challenges and maintain the security and stability of the GCC countries and the region.
The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday the Gulf Cooperation Council remained valid despite a bitter row with Qatar that has fractured the bloc ahead of an annual summit next week. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt have imposed a diplomatic and economic boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations Doha supports terrorism.
Qatar denies the charges and says the boycott aims to curtail its sovereignty. “The main success of the council is in its economic aspects and the creation of a Gulf common market,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted.
“The political crisis will end when the cause behind it ends and that is Qatar’s support of extremism and its interference in the stability of the region.” The dispute has undermined the regional role of the six-nation GCC, set up in 1980 as a bulwark against larger neighbours Iran and Iraq. Last week, Qatar abruptly announced it was quitting OPEC after 57 years to focus on gas in an apparent swipe at the oil-exporter bloc’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia.
The move has deepened the sense among diplomats and analysts that any prospect for a near-term resolution to the dispute was unlikely to come at the GCC summit in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s king has invited Qatar’s Amir to attend the Dec 9 gathering of heads of state, but Doha has not yet said what level of representation it would send. Bahrain’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Thursday that the level of Qatari representation at the oneday summit was irrelevant.
“It is the same whether they attend or not,” Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told the pan Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat. “The crisis with Qatar has reached unprecedented levels and I don’t know how they will come back from that, as Qatar has joined itself with the region’s enemies such as Iran and distanced itself from the GCC.” Qatar’s ruler last month said the dispute “exposed the failure” of the GCC and harmed regional security by weakening the block which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. At last year’s summit, held in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain sent ministers or deputy prime ministers