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GCC’s annual summit begins in Doha | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The emblem of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The emblem of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Doha, Asharq Al-Awsat—Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are congregating in Doha for their 35th annual meeting in the Qatari capital on Tuesday.

The Doha summit will last for one day only, and will be followed by a statement issued on the same day, a Gulf source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Coinciding with Qatar’s national day celebrations, the summit will discuss several political, economic and security issues, including countering terrorism, ties with neighboring Iran, and the political situation in Egypt.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers said it hoped the GCC’s achievements would meet the aspirations and hopes of its people.

Chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the meeting will praise the achievements and progress made so far in efforts to increase coordination and integration among GCC member states.

The Doha Summit is widely seen as a serious test for the GCC’s ability to maintain unity among its ranks at a critical time in the region, with crises in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, and ongoing international talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

The summit also follows shortly after a damaging split within the organization, which saw Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar for a period of eight months, accusing Doha of interfering in their internal affairs.

Ambassadors from the three countries returned to Doha earlier this month following a meeting of GCC leaders in the Saudi capital Riyadh, which led to reconciliation between the four neighbors.

Also featuring prominently on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting will be the political situation in Egypt, a major source of concern within the GCC, and one of the flashpoints for the recent disagreement between Qatar and its neighbors.

Major GCC members, including Saudi Arabia and UAE, are seeking to bolster support for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and isolate the Muslim Brotherhood, which they accuse of endangering their national security.

On the economic level, the meeting is expected to discuss tumbling oil prices and their long-term ramifications on the GCC’s members, three of which—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait—are among the world’s top oil exporters.