It remains unclear whether the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait will have any positive effect on the ongoing fractures between Qatar and a number of Gulf states, analysts say, as the regional body gears into a symbolic rather than functional role.
The 38th summit approaches amid the backdrop of a six-month blockade on Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, who have accused Doha of supporting and funding “terrorism”. Qatar has vehemently denied the allegations.
The GCC, a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, was established in 1981 to foster socioeconomic, security and cultural cooperation.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE gather every year to discuss cooperation and regional affairs.
While this year’s summit has been marred by questions on whether or not it would go ahead, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani has arrived in Kuwait and met Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah to discuss preparations.
According to diplomatic sources, foreign ministers of all six member states will meet on Monday in Kuwait City for a preliminary meeting.
The agenda of this year’s summit has not been made public, but there are expectations that the crisis will be at the forefront of discussions.
“There is serious concern [about] the continuity of the crisis and its impact even on the blockading countries,” said Mahjoob Zweiri, an associate professor at Qatar University with expertise on Gulf politics, adding that questions will be asked on how long the crisis will last.
Zweiri said that the desire to find a solution is emerging because of the fact that “nothing has been achieved”.
“Qatar has rejected the demands put forth by the Arab quartet, who have also not achieved anything and are losing economically,” he said.
War of media
Kuwait has played the role of mediator, but little progress has been made, and media incitement from the Arab quartet against Qatar has continued. Most of the provocation has come from UAE officials, whose government has made it a cybercrime for their citizens to show sympathy to Qatar, an offence that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Saudi and Bahrain have similarly criminalised expressions of support for Qatar. Read More …