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Qatar’s Amir Tamim arrives in Riyadh for first GCC Summit since rapprochement

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Regional stability, economic cooperation and climate change are among the issues to be discussed during the high-profile meeting.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has arrived in Saudi Arabia for the 42nd Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] Summit on Tuesday.

The latest meeting is the first to take place between Gulf leaders following the GCC reconciliation and under what analysts have described as a “positive” climate.

During the 41st GCC Summit on 5 January this year, countries in the Gulf and Egypt signed the Al-Ula declaration, marking a new chapter in ties across various fields following a three-year crisis that split the region apart.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar and falsely accused it of supporting terrorism. Doha has vehemently denied those claims.

The previous GCC summit witnessed the restoration of ties between Qatar and the former blockading quartet.

Under the Al-Ula Declaration, members of the GCC and Egypt agreed to unite for regional peace and security and vowed to cooperate to tackle major issues including the Covid-19 health crisis.

‘Some misunderstandings’ between Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE resolved: Tehran official

Topics on the agenda

Earlier reports said the Iranian nuclear issue is expected to be on the agenda for this year’s summit, as talks aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] continue to take place in Vienna.

This also includes the impact of Iran’s nuclear activity on the region.

While both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have had their own rivalries with Iran, the two Gulf states have appeared to start shifting their foreign policies. Several meetings have been taking place between officials from the two Gulf countries and Tehran.

Ahead of the summit, GCC Secretary-General Nayef Al-Hajraf told Saudi TV that Iran should “offer indications of good intent”.

Read also: Key points from Al-Ula declaration ‘unity’ statement

Meanwhile, Qatar Television reporter, Abdullah Al-Muraikhi, told the channel on Tuesday that the summit will also discuss developments in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the Palestinian cause.

The upcoming session is likely to build on progress made since the signing of the Al-Ula declaration as well as further cooperation in various fields, including climate change and economic cooperation.

Those were the areas that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] touched upon during his latest Gulf tour a week ahead of the summit.

Commenting on MBS’s Gulf tour, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said on Friday the visit to different capitals in the region “expressed the concept of a united Gulf, a common destiny, and its timing came to strengthen the course of Gulf action and push it towards broader horizons”.

GCC

The GCC was formed in 1981, comprising six countries in the Gulf region including: Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It was created to promote joint security, economic, cultural and social cooperation between its members and holds annual summits to review ties between all GCC countries.

The goal was also to protect the countries from threats following the 1980 Iran-Iraq War, which started with Saddam Hussein’s deadly invasion of the Islamic Republic that led to at least one million casualties.

The GCC has six main branches, including: The Supreme Council; The Ministerial Council; The Secretariat General; Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council;  Dispute Settlement Commission; and Secretary-General.


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