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Saudi King and Emir of Kuwait meet ahead of GCC summit - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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File photo of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz meeting with Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber in Riyadh on 28/10/2014. (SPA)

File photo of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz meeting with Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber in Riyadh on 28/10/2014. (SPA)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in Riyadh on Tuesday evening to discuss the latest regional developments, including the diplomatic dispute between a number of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Qatar.

The two monarchs “discussed aspects of cooperation between the two brotherly countries in addition to the latest developments in regional and international arenas,” Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The state-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) described Tuesday’s visit as “brotherly.” The Emir of Kuwait highlighted the “deep-rooted relations” between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and wished the Saudi people “sustainable prosperity,” KUNA reported.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Undersecretary of the Kuwait Foreign Ministry, Khaled Al-Jarallah, said that the main reason behind the emir of Kuwait’s visit to the Kingdom was to seek to ease tensions within the GCC and work to create the suitable atmosphere prior to the Doha Summit later this year.

Jarallah said that relations between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are “harmonious,” particularly citing the joint Saudi-Kuwait vision over GCC unity. The senior Kuwait official called for GCC states to work together and turn the page on the diplomatic disagreements that have characterized relations between some Gulf Arab states in recent months.

Relations between GCC members states have been strained ever since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha in March, alleging that Qatar was meddling in the domestic affairs of its fellow GCC members. GCC states also accuse Doha of failing to respect the Riyadh Agreement, a security pact drawn up by the GCC last year.

GCC foreign ministers met in Jeddah in August to discuss the diplomatic rift but were unable to reach an agreement to resolve it. The dispute is expected to be a major issue of discussion at the GCC summit in Doha in December.

The meeting between the two heads of state came on the same day that GCC states issued an official request to the UN Security Council to implement Security Council resolutions on Yemen, including imposing sanctions on individuals and groups found to be destabilizing the fragile country, the poorest and most troubled on the Arabian Peninsula.

As well as facing ongoing terrorist attacks from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its allies, Yemen faces a constellation of escalating political and economic crises, some of which stem from the downfall of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced to step down in early 2012 in the face of massive public protests.

In particular, the Shi’ite Houthi movement recently took control of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, and are advancing across the country, raising fears of escalating civil and sectarian strife among the country’s various factions. Meanwhile, secessionist movements in what was formerly the independent People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the country’s south appear to be gathering political momentum.

These developments have caused widespread alarm among its neighbors in the Gulf, and is expected to be one of the major items on the agenda at the next GCC summit.

Kuwait, which currently holds to rotating leadership of the GCC, is leading Gulf efforts to deal with the situation in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia and Oman, two GCC members.

Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdullah Al-Mouallimi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the GCC’s appeal to the Security Council is based on a total of seven points of concern, and calls for more international action on the developing situation in Yemen.

“The most important points in the request issued by Kuwait is to draw the attention of the UN Security Council to the deteriorating situation in Yemen and calling on it to shoulder its responsibility towards this sisterly state and enforce the decisions towards Yemen at all levels, including imposing sanctions on those who are obstructing Yemeni reconciliation, whether individuals or groups,” Mouallimi said.

Additional reporting by Adhwan Alahmari from London.