Reconciliation on the horizon as GCC summit nears

The GCC members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tensions tone down Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders summit to be held in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on 10 December, could see an end to the two-year tiff between Qatar and its estranged neighbors, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This positive sentiment was expressed by Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Al Jarallah, who added, “Kuwait looks forward to the Gulf summit with a lot of optimism and hope to achieve Gulf people’s aspirations for security and stability.” He added that his hopes were that representation at the summit would be at the highest level of GCC leaders.

In June 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, along with Egypt, broke off diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar over its support for extremist groups. Ever since the disagreement between the two sides began, Kuwait has been at the forefront of rapprochement efforts aimed at bringing the brotherly GCC states together.

Though efforts by the two neutral GCC members, Kuwait and Oman, have failed to achieve discernible results, Kuwait has continued its efforts. In November, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE send their national teams to play in the prestigious regional tournament, Gulf Cup, which is taking place in Qatar, which analysts see as a sign of softening of tensions between the two sides.

Qatar’s immediate neighbors and Egypt have repeatedly demanded Doha comply with a set of conditions to mend ties. The demands include Qatar’s severance of links with militant groups, scaling down ties with Iran, which has been accused of meddling in Arab affairs, and shutting down Al Jazeera TV, seen as a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has steadfastly refuted the allegations and refused the demands, saying they infringed on its sovereignty.