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The New Arab

Qatari emir to attend Gulf summit despite Saudi row

The emir's attendance may be a sign of a breakthrough at the summit [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2017

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Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will attend the annual summit of Gulf Arab heads of state in Kuwait on 5 and 6 December, his defence minister has confirmed.
Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will attend the annual summit of Gulf Arab heads of state in Kuwait on 5 and 6 December, Qatar's foreign minister told reporters on Sunday, despite a deep dispute within the group.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani expressed hope the Gulf summit would put an end to the crisis, which has pitted Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

The Saudi-led bloc has enforced a blockade on Qatar over allegations that the emirate supports "terrorist groups" and being too close to Iran, claims Doha denies.

Qatar now hopes the meeting will be the first step towards dialogue between the Gulf nations.

"We are the party that has been assaulted... but we will continue to support Kuwaiti mediation efforts and appeal for dialogue."

Speaking at a conference in Doha, Qatar's foreign minister said the Gulf crisis was triggered by false allegations in media linked to the blockading states, which played a "negative role" in the dispute. 

The rift between the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council members - which began in June - had put this year's annual meeting in doubt.

Saudi Arabia agreed to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit that "will include Qatar" and be hosted by Kuwait in December, sources told The New Arab earlier this week.

The summit comes at a delicate time after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt all cut ties with and imposed a sea, air and land blockade on Qatar in June. 

Saudi Arabia then issued Qatar a list of demands, including shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

In response, Qatar's former deputy prime minister said the blockade on Doha had only strengthened the kingdom's resolve.

Since then, Kuwait has been attempting to mediate efforts to end the crisis.

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