A prominent Kuwaiti journalist has said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit will be held on schedule next month with Qatar’s participation, despite increasing indicators that the annual meeting will be postponed due to the regional diplomatic crisis.
In an interview with the German Deutsche Welle (DW) broadcaster on Friday, Ahmed al-Jarallah, who has close ties to Kuwaiti policymakers, said that a solution to the Gulf crisis is imminent.
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Jarallah, an editor of several newspapers and magazines in Kuwait, made the comments to DW during his visit to the Saudi capital Riyadh as part of a Kuwaiti delegation. He said leaving Qatar out of the group would make the country “vulnerable to other agendas”.
There has been no official announcement from Kuwait or the GCC secretariat about the status of the summit.
“As long as Qatar continues this approach, the Kingdom of Bahrain cannot participate in any GCC summit or meeting attended by Qatar unless it corrects its approach, comes to its senses, and responds to the demands of the countries that suffered so much from its policies,” Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said on October 31.
Established in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian peninsula, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The alliance fosters economic, security, cultural and social cooperation between the six nations, who hold an annual summit to discuss regional affairs.
The GCC’s future
But the future of the GCC has been thrown into question as a result of the deep rift caused after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt all imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar on June 5.
The blockading countries have accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”, maintaining cordial relations with Iran and meddling in the internal affairs of their countries.
But Qatar maintains there is “no legitimate justification” for the actions taken by the four nations, calling their decision a “violation of its sovereignty”.
This year’s summit is meant to be held in Kuwait, which has taken up the role of mediator in hopes of resolving the crisis.
As the rift draws nearer to entering its sixth month, the debate over whether the summit will be held is growing.
Despite leading the blockade against Qatar, Saudi Arabia seems to have softened its stance towards the former and towards the crisis, raising questions over the fate of the summit.
In statements that represented a clear shift from Saudi’s previous antagonistic position towards Qatar, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi’s foreign minister, told the American CNN news broadcaster earlier this month that the issue with the latter is “very small” and “should not distract people”.
In response to allegations that the Gulf countries may be seeking regime change in Qatar, Al-Jubeir said: “This is not our policy … Our policy is to see a change in behaviour.”
Without statements from officials regarding the planned summit, it is hard to extract whether the meeting will go ahead, or whether it will be postponed. If the latter occurs, it could signal more troubling times for the countries of the GCC.