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Monday, March 8, 2021

All Gulf leaders ‘expected to attend’ summit, says GCC official

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The summit is expected to move ongoing negotiations between Doha and Riyadh to end the three-year-long dispute.

The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council said in a statement that all leaders of the six member states are expected to attend the 41st GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

The meeting, held “despite the exceptional circumstances facing the world”, confirms the keenness to preserve the unity of the GCC “as a cohesive system capable of overcoming difficulties and challenges”, Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf said in a statement.

Doha has yet to confirm the attendance of Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who last week received a formal invitation from the Saudi king to attend the summit.

Read also: ‘Sisi not welcome in the Gulf’: Social media users protest Egypt’s participation at GCC summit

As of Monday, the illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar remains in place, with flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, banned.

Sources told Doha News an announcement to end the dispute will be made at the meeting, noting negotiations between Doha and Riyadh, which is representing the blockading Quartet, are on track.

Egypt’s President Abdelfattah El-Sisi is also expected to attend the meeting but has yet to confirm his attendance. His invitation to the Gulf summit signified that a final agreement to end the three-year-long regional crisis could indeed be reached on January 5.

The summit was initially scheduled to take place in Bahrain, but was moved to Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, after moves to resolve the three-year dispute were first announced in December with Kuwait suggesting a deal had been reached.


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