GCC summit to be held on January 5: Kuwait minister

Sources say summit was moved to next month to allow parties involved in the Qatar blockade time to resolve the crisis.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed all travel, trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 [Sorin Furcoi /Al Jazeera]
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed all travel, trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 [Sorin Furcoi /Al Jazeera]

An annual Gulf Arab summit, usually held in December, will be hosted by Saudi Arabia on January 5, Kuwait’s foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah made the announcement on Thursday in remarks published on the ministry’s website.

Sources familiar with the matter had told the Reuters news agency the gathering would be pushed to next month while parties locked in a long-running dispute that led to a boycott of Qatar work on announcing a tangible deal towards resolving the row.

Three of the sources said they expected all heads of state to attend the summit, which has not brought Qatar’s emir together with leaders of boycotting states since 2017.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed all travel, trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017.

A foreign diplomat in the region, who also expected full participation at the gathering, said a preliminary deal, however, may be followed by a renewed impasse, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The Saudis appeared more eagre than their allies, the diplomat said, and Doha was willing to hold out for a comprehensive deal, especially given United States President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to take a firmer stance with Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudis are keen to demonstrate to Biden that they are peacemakers and open to dialogue,” the diplomat said, adding that the Gulf powerhouse is likely to convince reluctant allies to fall into line.

Ending the blockade

The boycotting nations claim Qatar worked to support “terrorism”, maintained too-close relations with Iran and meddled in the internal affairs of their countries.

Doha had been set 13 demands, ranging from closing Al Jazeera and shuttering a Turkish base to cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran.

Qatar has rejected the allegations and demands and accused the blockading countries of attacking its sovereignty.

Qatar says any resolution should be based on mutual respect, including foreign policy.

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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