/Qatar rift overshadows Gulf Arab summit as emir stays away

Qatar rift overshadows Gulf Arab summit as emir stays away

RIYADH (Reuters) – A Gulf Arab summit known as for regional unity as Bahrain and Qatar traded barbs over the Qatari emir’s determination to not attend the gathering in Saudi Arabia on Sunday in an indication row between Doha and its neighbors continues to be festering.

Qatar despatched its state minister for overseas affairs to the annual one-day summit, which was overshadowed by the financial and diplomatic boycott of Doha since mid-2017 by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt over allegations Doha helps terrorism, which Qatar denies.

“Qatar’s emir should have accepted the fair demands (of the boycotting states) and attended the summit,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa stated in a tweet.

In response, Ahmed bin Saeed AlRumaihi, director of the data workplace at Qatar’s overseas ministry, stated: “Qatar can make its own decisions and had attended (last year’s) Kuwait summit while the leaders of the boycotting countries did not.”

He later slammed the ultimate communique for not addressing the boycott, which Qatar says goals to curtail its sovereignty.

The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) summit of six member states was held as Riyadh faces worldwide strain over the Oct 2. homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman opened the gathering, urging fellow member states Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar to take care of a united entrance in opposition to Iran and terrorism.

“This requires all of us to maintain our countries’ gains and to work with our partners to preserve security and stability in the region and the world,” he stated in a speech.

The leaders sat round a desk in awkward silence on the shut earlier than a bland closing communique was learn out, stressing the significance of sustaining GCC unity within the face of threats to regional stability and to fulfill financial challenges.

The UAE will host the following summit in 2019.

FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks to the nation’s consultative Shoura council in Doha, Qatar, November 6, 2018. Qatar News Agency/Handout by way of REUTERS


Doha final week abruptly introduced it was exiting the oil exporters’ group OPEC after 57 years to deal with fuel, in an obvious swipe on the bloc’s de facto chief Saudi Arabia..

Riyadh has resisted U.S. strain to revive ties with Doha following Khashoggi’s homicide, an act that drew condemnation and scrutiny of the dominion’s assertive regional insurance policies.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reiterated in a press convention after the summit that Doha should meet the boycotting states’ calls for and that the dispute wouldn’t have an effect on navy cooperation.

A U.S. State Department official on Sunday urged Gulf states to fix fences to confront Iran and allow a proposed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) grouping the GCC, Egypt and Jordan.

“We’d like to see that unity restored, not on our terms, but on terms of the countries that are involved,” Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs, advised reporters at a safety discussion board within the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

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Jubeir stated proposals for MESA have been being “refined” in coordination with the United States. “It is a work in progress that both sides want to succeed,” he stated.

The boycotting states insist the row will not be a precedence for them whereas Doha says the dispute harms regional safety.

Kuwait’s ties with Riyadh are additionally strained over management of shared oilfields within the so-called Neutral Zone, additional weakening unity of the GCC which was arrange in 1980 as a bulwark in opposition to bigger neighbors Iran and Iraq.

Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Abu Dhabi, Tuqa Khalid in Dubai and Marwa Rashad in Riyadh; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous, Andrew Roche and Adrian Croft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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