Qatar rift to come into focus as Gulf leaders meet at GCC Summit in Kuwait

Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is received by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa upon his arrival at Sakhir VIP airport to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 37th Summit, Bahrain, December 6, 2016.

:: The 38th annual summit of Gulf Arab heads of state will convene in Kuwait on Dec. 5 and 6, Gulf officials said on Wednesday, despite an ongoing dispute between some members of group.

A rift between the Gulf Cooperation Council members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on one side, and Qatar on the other has put this year’s annual meeting in doubt.

The crisis, which began in June, revolve around allegations by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt that Qatar supports terrorism, a charge Doha denies. Qatar says the four countries are trying to force Doha to fall in line with their own foreign policy views.

Foreign ministers meet

Qatar’s foreign minister met his Gulf Arab counterparts on Monday ahead of the annual summit, one of the highest official encounters since some of them cut diplomatic, trade and travel links with Doha six months ago.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said a day earlier that Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani would attend the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting on Dec. 5 and 6, despite the dispute within the group.

Al-Thani sat around a large wooden table in Bayan Palace with representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain to make preparations for the top-level summit.

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