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World

Saudi-led coalition discuss 'cooperation' with Qatar, ahead of GCC summit

  • On Sunday, foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held a virtual meeting discussing "cooperation" ahead of a landmark regional summit next month, amid efforts to end the rift between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance.
  • Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait took part in the meeting, while Qatar was represented by its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Updated 28 Dec, 2020

On Sunday, foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held a virtual meeting discussing "cooperation" ahead of a landmark regional summit next month, amid efforts to end the rift between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance.

In a statement, Bahrain stated that the virtual meeting was intended to lay out the groundwork for the 41st session of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit to be held on the 5th of January, held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait took part in the meeting, while Qatar was represented by its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

In June 2017, this Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states accused Qatar of supporting terrorism in the region, and maintaining close relations with Iran - subsequently cutting off economic and diplomatic ties, in addition to imposing a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar.

Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations, stating that there was "no legitimate justification" for the severance of ties; as the demands from the blockading coalition included the closure of the Al Jazeera Media Network, in addition to a Turkish military base - which were promptly rejected by Qatar.

However, Riaydh has recently pushed for a resolution of this long-festering dispute, as it seeks to alleviate criticism from President-elect Joe Biden; as the new administration is expected to take a more stern stance towards the Kingdom, than President Trump.

During the virtual summit, according to a statement by Kuwait's foreign ministry, the GCC addressed the "suggestions on supporting and strengthening joint Gulf cooperation in various political, economic and social aspects", a softening of the rhetoric around the Gulf crisis.

On Sunday, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdellatif al-Zayani expressed confidence in "Saudi Arabia’s ability to find a solution to the dispute within the Gulf”, adding that he hoped for a return to normalcy in the region; with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt giving their public support for the negotiations.

As reported by Al Jazeera, sources close to the negotiations have mentioned that the Saudi-led coalition was willing to compromise on its list of demands, and to use the upcoming summit as a path towards reconciliation - with negotiations moving towards a more concrete move involving the reopening of the Qatari airspace.

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