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Spotlight on Qatar as Gulf gears up for summit

December 05, 2017

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KUWAIT CITY: Gulf foreign ministers gathered on Monday in Kuwait on the eve of an annual summit bringing together Qatar and its feuding neighbours despite little hope for an end to the bitter rift.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Ta­­m­im bin Hamad Al-Thani will be at the summit, but less than 24 hours before it was due to begin it was still unclear whether the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain would also attend.

Those three Gulf states, together with Egypt, cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the gas-rich emirate of supporting Islamist extremists and of being too close to Iran, Riyadh’s arch-rival. Qatar denies the allegations.

Mediation efforts led by Kuwait have failed to re­­solve what is the worst crisis to hit the Gulf Coop­e­ration Council in its 36-year history, casting serious doubts over the future of the six-state alliance.

As Kuwait readied to host the two-day GCC summit, analysts said its efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the crisis may be at a complete standstill.

“The crisis is too deep and very complicated... I don’t think it will be resolved during the summit,” said independent Kuwaiti political analyst Saleh al-Saeedi.

“But I think Kuwait opes to at least freeze the dispute, stop its deterioration and move on to the next step.”

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2017