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GCC summit prospects “hazy”: official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) meets the emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa  Al Thani in Jeddah. (AFP Photo/HO/SPA)

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) meets the emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in Jeddah.
(AFP Photo/HO/SPA)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Despite efforts to end the Gulf diplomatic crisis, the prospects of holding the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) annual summit this December in Doha look “hazy,” a senior Gulf official told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A GCC General Secretariat official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that no preparatory sessions for this year’s summit have been held so far, in a sign of growing tensions among member states.

Qatar fell out with the GCC earlier this year after it was accused of interfering with the internal affairs of other GCC member states.

Tensions escalated in March after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all recalled their ambassadors from Doha.

The source, who requested anonymity because he was not permitted to brief the media, said Doha was instructed to wait “until further notice” as far as holding the organization’s annual meeting.

Rifts have deepened despite recent attempts by Kuwait to contain the crisis between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the other—member states who appear to object to the idea of Doha playing host to the summit.

“Some member states have reservations about holding the summit in Doha,” the source added.

The official warned organizers may be running out of time.

“If the summit is to be held, the problem [member states] may face is that the general secretariat officials will not have enough time to hold preparatory sessions, which usually decide the agenda to be discussed during the summit,” he warned.

Some predict that member states will be forced to resort to “lowering” the level of their diplomatic representation in Doha in the event divisive issues go unresolved.

Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday quoted a senior Gulf official saying that the summit would be held on schedule, following reports of a potential emergency meeting to be held in Riyadh this week to ease tensions.

Earlier this week, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, invited GCC rulers to the Doha summit. He emphasized that maintaining friendly ties with fellow member states was his country’s top priority.