Kuwait, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ongoing disagreement between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will not be addressed at the Arab League meeting scheduled to begin in Kuwait on Sunday, but that mediation efforts would begin soon.
A senior Gulf diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no plan so far for Kuwaiti mediation in the disagreement between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the one side, and Qatar on the other, which has led to the withdrawal of the three countries’ ambassadors from Doha on March 5.
The source said he expected Kuwaiti mediation to start after the Arab summit at the end of this week, and for the matter to be dealt with among the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
As for this week’s Arab League meeting, the source added that a meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Sunday will discuss the recent decree issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, criminalizing all acts of terrorism and adding a number of groups to a terrorist list.
Diplomatic sources said they expected the issue of Syria’s representation, and whether Syria’s Arab League seat will be given to the opposition’s Syrian National Coalition, could be resolved this week.
Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended following the eruption of the revolution three years ago.
The sources said a decision may be made at the Kuwait summit to invite the General-Secretariat of the Arab League to continue considerations about allowing the Coalition to occupy Syria’s seat at the Arab League.
The sources said Sunday’s foreign minister’s meeting will focus on a number of fundamental issues including the Palestinian issue and the Arab–Israeli conflict, and the activation of the Arab Peace Initiative, especially following US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the deadline for agreement to be reached needed to be extended.
This follows the realization that an agreement was not going to be reached by April, which marks the end of the nine-month deadline announced by Kerry in July 2013.
The Sunday meeting is also expected to discuss options for providing Lebanon with political and economic support as it struggles to deal with the spillover of the conflict in neighboring Syria. This is understood to include financial and technical help to deal with the issue of the approximately one million Syrian refugees currently in Lebanon.
The meeting will also discuss developments in Libya and ways to support its efforts to preserve its sovereignty and independence, and support it in the next phase related to drafting the constitution, and possible ways to support the Libyan security forces, as the country’s transitional government struggles to rebuild its army and police forces.
The sources added that during the Sunday meeting the foreign ministers would discuss the Yemen issue and reaffirm commitment to Yemen’s unity and the respect for its sovereignty and independence. They will also reaffirm commitment to the results of the National Dialogue Conference, and the importance of its implementation, as well as the drafting of a new constitution.
Sawsan Abu Husain contributed additional reporting from Kuwait.