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O GCC leaders, return from Al-Ula with glory

TOMORROW, the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit will be held in the Saudi city of Al-Ula. This summit is considered to be a renewal summit in the course of the GCC member states, after three and a half years of unproductiveness due to the crisis that cast a shadow over all the activities of this organization. At some point it almost led its members towards taking the most difficult options.

 However, since the beginning of this crisis, Kuwait has been spearheading a positive role, which will today be crowned with the promised reconciliation at this meeting, which means turning a new page of relations.

 Throughout the crisis, there were media altercations between the two sides which reached an unprecedented level. Ideally, each party could have adopted the principle of “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”.

 This assembly was created for the sake of common destiny among its members. Therefore, a crisis cannot shake its pillars or split the unity of the ranks among the people of the same house.

 The formation of the GCC was based on the idea of the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad during the Amman Summit in November 1980. He had presented the idea to the late Saudi King Fahad bin Abdulaziz, at a time when the solidarity of Arab nations seemed to wobble, prompting the Gulf nations to take a stance that will render its members a formidable force when facing challenges.

 Nonetheless, the GCC members need to turn a new page of relations, and end the media altercations and bickering, especially regarding what some Qatari officials had said, in a bid to reopen a wound.

 Undoubtedly, there are those who seek to fish in troubled waters, play on the contradictions of differences in views, and ferment such differences in order to achieve their evil objectives of dividing the components of the Gulf society.

In order to put things into perspective, we realized that everyone is a loser in this crisis, despite the side benefits achieved by each country.

 The State of Qatar was able to compensate for the economic and defense losses, as well as the four countries, but at the expense of major files and common issues.

 Hence, self-compensation is not an alternative in the unitary collective cooperation. This means, we are today not searching for the winner or the loser, but about where we are headed.

 Unity is the key to face major challenges facing the region. It is important to realize that the upcoming challenges do not accept division or complacency and that the global changes will undoubtedly affect the entire globe. If the GCC states do not work to confront them with a unified position, they will be among the biggest losers.

 In this regard, it is possible to benefit from the experience of the European Union despite the many languages and varied customs, traditions and even laws. However, it has been able to face crises, and its governments are superior to internal contradictions. Despite BREXIT, its structure is still formidable.

It is true that the Gulf Cooperation Council is not like the European Union, except that it has more unitary components than it, either in terms of unity of language, geography, or the customs, traditions and family relations among its components, in addition to the similarity in laws and regulations.

 Nonetheless, the storm that has passed should not leave its effects on this organization. The current efforts should be an opportunity to re-straighten the compass and avoid the problems that caused the crisis. In addition, the current vision of the Qatari government, under the leadership of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, differs from what it was before.

 Tomorrow’s summit is a historic milestone in the GCC’s march, in the presence of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad. This is because what is important is the return of strength to this organization, and that its people do not remain locked in intransigence views that are based on the opinions of those who do not see the full picture.

 There should be differentiation between private relations of countries and the general GCC interest. That is why we look at the Al-Ula summit and hope that it results in progressive decisions and stances. Let it not be a one-day summit that begins in the morning and ends in the evening, because the matter at hand deserves the candle to be burnt from both ends in order to maintain the strength and unity of the GCC.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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