Qatar foreign minister joins GCC peers in Kuwait meeting

After almost six-month row between Gulf states, Qatar’s foreign minister has met his Gulf Arab counterparts ahead of an annual summit in Kuwait.

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

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

Sheikh Mohammed sat around a large wooden table in Bayan Palace with representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain to make preparations for the top-level summit.

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 Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Sheikh Tamim would fly to Kuwait City for the two-day meeting scheduled to begin Tuesday. It quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed as confirming the emir’s attendance and saying he hoped “all parties involved do not need a Western party to intervene.”

Later Monday, Kuwait announced Sheikh Tamim had sent a letter to Kuwait’s 88-year-old ruler, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah, without elaborating.

On Monday, both Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir attended a ministerial meeting in Kuwait City ahead of the summit. Bahrain said it sent Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla bin Faisal al Doseri to that meeting that the Qatari foreign minister also attended.

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 The rift revolves around allegations by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt that Qatar supports terrorism and is too close to Iran.

Doha denies the charges and says the four countries are trying to force it to fall in line with their own foreign policy.

Kuwait and the United States have tried unsuccessfully to mediate the dispute in recent months.


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