Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Saudi Arabia, allies snub Qatar at crisis-hit Gulf summit

Just hours before the meeting, UAE and Saudi Arabia announced they had agreed to form a joint military, economic and political partnership.

Faisal Al Mutlaqem, of Kuwait's ministry of communications, had earlier said the two-day agenda for the gathering was set regardless of who attended or what was happening in the region externally, amid reports that the summit would be held for one day only.

The UAE foreign ministry statement says that the new committee "is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries". It will be chaired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, and the UAE's deputy prime minister, Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The announcement comes as both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been engaged in the ongoing war in Yemen, fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi forces. While the UAE denies that a missile was sacked towards one of its nuclear plants, Saudi Arabia claimed its Patriot missile system successfully intercepted a Houthi missile, targeted at Riyadh airport.

In an official statement, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the creation of a Joint Cooperation Committee with Saudi Arabia, its principal ally in the Middle East.

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Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain - all members of the GCC - together with Egypt, have cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Doha.

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.

Founded in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic union grouping Qatar with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Oman and Kuwait.

Kuwait's dedication to resolve the Gulf crisis is being lauded by people on social media, popular radio host Obaid Tahir told Qatar Urdu Radio's live show Haqeeqat yesterday. Qatar denies the allegations.

Omani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yussef Bin Alawi sat between them at the meeting which the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait also attended.

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Experts warn that the crisis could lead to the demise of the once-powerful GCC.

"As long as our enemy has changed from Iran to Qatar, the GCC will not continue".

But as the row continues, how those deals will be hammered out remains in flux, said Blunt. Right now, he said, UK-Saudi and UK-Qatari relations are both in a "decent place".

Although, the Council has formally approved the creation of a common market, a single currency and a customs union, few of these measures are being implemented, as its members can not agree on how to institutionalize these radical reforms.

Despite "negative developments and sorrowful events" over the past six months, GCC leaders have managed to calm the situation which is an important step in addressing the recent feud, he added, according to Kuwait's state news agency (Kuna).

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