Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

GCC summit holds closing session in Saudi capital Riyadh

GCC summit holds closing session in Saudi capital Riyadh

The emir of Qatar chose not to attend an annual regional summit, highlighting a prolonged rift between the country and other Gulf States including Saudi Arabia.

People familiar with India's engagements with the members of the GCC - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - said New Delhi had consistently said that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter and should not figure at multilateral forums. The sheikh had attended last year's GCC meeting in Kuwait, where nations boycotting Qatar sent lower-level representatives.

"The main success of the council is in its economic aspects and the creation of a Gulf common market", Gargash added.

The three countries accuse Qatar of interfering in their internal affairs and of supporting extremist groups across the region.

The event saw the participation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who headed the UAE delegation.

Qatar, which last week abruptly announced it was withdrawing from oil exporters group OPEC, denies the charges and says the boycott aims to curtail its sovereignty.

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Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, said that all the GCC countries represent one family and any dispute that occurs among its members is normal.

Chairing the GCC session, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz claimed that Iran continued to promote terrorism and threaten regional stability.

"While expressing its utmost appreciation to the leadership and people of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate appeals to Allah the Almighty to bestow further progress and prosperity to brotherly Saudi people and all GCC people".

Asked about reports of talks on the creation of an Arab-American military alliance against Iran, he said: "Talks are continuing between the United States and the Gulf states around this question and ideas are being drawn up".

The GCC was formed in 1981 at the height of the Iraq-Iran war and two years after the Islamic revolution in Tehran sparked concern in Sunni-led Gulf states, many of which have sizable Shia populations, including in Bahrain.

Al-Jubeir stressed that the "truth is firm and durable, as long as the GCC countries share a common destiny and realize that their unity is a force that will always be influential if we effectively agreed on all regional and global economical, political and security issues".

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