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The New Arab

Qatari, Saudi rulers to attend GCC summit despite Gulf crisis

Qatar hopes the meeting will be the first step towards dialogue [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 December, 2017

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The Qatari Emir and Saudi King will both attend a crucial summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council this week, amid a Saudi-led boycott of the gas-rich emirate.

The Qatari Emir and Saudi King will both attend a crucial summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council this week, amid a Saudi-led boycott of the gas-rich emirate.

Doha said on Sunday that 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, while sources told The New Arab that King Salman has also decided to attend.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia attended round-table talks ahead of the summit, in their first such encounter since Riyadh and two other GCC states cut all ties with Doha.

The meeting was also attended by UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash and Bahrain's assistant foreign minister, Abdullah al-Dossari.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all GCC members, as well as Egypt on June 5 severed all political and economic relations with tiny gas-rich Qatar.

They accused the emirate of backing extremist groups, a charge it denied.

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

"Keeping the GCC alive as a bloc and a system is an important goal... the summit must result in a clear mechanism that puts an end to this crisis," the Qatari foreign minister said on Sunday, according to state media.

Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi sat between Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir.

Monday's meeting, which was also attended by the foreign ministers of Kuwait and Oman, is to prepare the agenda for the summit in Kuwait City.

Founded in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic union grouping Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Oman and Kuwait.

It was not immediately known if the foreign ministers and the leaders at the summit will discuss the worst political dispute in the GCC's 36-year history.

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