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GCC preparatory meeting to take place in Riyadh - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa attends the opening session of the thirteenth Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City in this December 14, 2009 file photo. (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee/Files)

Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa attends the opening session of the thirteenth Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City in this December 14, 2009 file photo. (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee/Files)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—A meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders is being held on Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, ahead of the GCC’s annual summit due to take place in Doha next month, a senior Kuwaiti source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Bahrain News Agency confirmed that the summit was taking place, and reported that the island kingdom’s ruler, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, was due to arrive in Riyadh on Sunday afternoon to begin talks with other Gulf leaders.

The Kuwaiti source—who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to brief the media—said the meeting aimed to act as an additional opportunity for GCC leaders to hold further discussions regarding an inter-GCC dispute with fellow member-state Qatar, and to provide a suitable environment for the annual summit in December.

“Many of the disputes [between the member states] have already been solved. But there remain a few small points which the leaders will be able to solve through their meeting in Riyadh,” the Kuwaiti source said.

The dispute between Qatar and its neighbors worsened earlier this year when, in a surprise move, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, accusing the Qatari administration of interfering in the affairs of other GCC member states and thereby contravening the organization’s charter.

The other two members of the GCC, Kuwait and Oman, have been attempting to mediate between the two sides.

The source said Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah had had “an effective diplomatic role” in his efforts to help organize the preparatory session, “with the intention of achieving reconciliation and understanding between and bringing closer the different points of view of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE on the one hand, and Qatar on the other.”

On Friday, a source from the GCC’s General Secretariat, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat prospects for the summit in December looked “hazy,” with a number of member states having “reservations” about its being held in in Doha while the dispute continues.

But the Kuwaiti source maintained the summit would be taking place as planned, adding that the meeting in Riyadh now provided opportunity to put an end to the dispute.