Absence of Qatar emir overshadows Gulf Arab summit

Absence of Qatar emir overshadows Gulf Arab summit

Absence of Qatar emir overshadows Gulf Arab summit

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attend a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Dec 9, 2018.

Ahmed bin Saeed AlRumaihi, director of the information office at Qatar's foreign ministry, slammed the final communique for not addressing the boycott, which Qatar says aims to curtail its sovereignty.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and fostering close ties with their regional rival, Iran.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Adbulaziz invited Qatar's ruler to attend the regional summit in a sign of a potential thaw between the nations.

Qatar announced last week its decision to withdraw from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 1, 2019, a move seen as a challenge to the Saudi-dominated oil cartel.

Instead Qatar was represented by the minister of state for foreign affairs, Sultan al-Muraikhi, it said.

The minister added that any conflict among the Gulf states must be resolved within the regional organization.

In the summit, the GCC leaders discussed several regional developments including efforts to strengthen strategic, economic, cultural, political and security cooperation between the GCC member states and the global community.

Saudi King Salman greeted GCC leaders Sunday as they descended down a golden escalator at a Riyadh air base and never mentioned Qatar in his remarks to the summit.

The GCC - set up in 1980 as a bulwark against larger neighbours Iran and Iraq - groups Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, whose ties with Riyadh have also been strained over control of shared oilfields.

Jubeir said proposals for MESA were being "refined" in coordination with the United States.

The Kuwaiti emir reiterated his country's position that relations with Iran should be based on worldwide principles, including non-interference in internal affairs, respect for state sovereignty and adherence to the rules of good neighbourliness.

A USA official on Sunday called on Gulf states to mend fences to confront Iran and pave the way for a proposed new Middle East security alliance that would include the Gulf bloc, Egypt and Jordan.

"We'd like to see that unity restored", he said on the sideline of a security summit on Yemen in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Also, Emir of Kuwait stressed in speech ahead of the summit their keenness on the GCC and realizing the aspirations of the people of its countries.

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