Gulf foreign ministers discuss ‘cooperation’ ahead of GCC summit in Riyadh

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Top Gulf Arab officials held a virtual meeting Sunday to bolster “cooperation” in various political, economic, and social aspects ahead of a GCC summit next month in Riyadh.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait took part in the meeting hosted by Manama, while Qatar was represented by its minister of state for foreign affairs.

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The participation of Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, would have been seen as another sign towards ending the diplomatic dispute.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements, charges Doha has denied.

After severing ties, the countries issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including that it shut down its broadcaster Al Jazeera.

The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) addressed on Sunday “suggestions on supporting and strengthening joint Gulf cooperation in various political, economic and social aspects,” according to a statement by Kuwait’s foreign ministry.

This comes after Manama on Wednesday called for an “end to regional disputes,” softening its rhetoric surrounding the Gulf crisis.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdellatif al-Zayani expressed confidence Sunday “in Saudi Arabia’s ability to find a solution to the dispute within the Gulf.”

Al-Zayani added during the meeting that his country hoped for a return to normalcy in the region, according to Bahraini media.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said a resolution was in sight, with the four governments behind the boycott “on board” and a final agreement expected soon as the GCC prepares to convene in the kingdom on January 5.

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Saudi Arabia optimistic on finalizing deal to end Gulf rift soon: FM

UAE supports Saudi efforts to resolve Gulf rift: Gargash

Kuwait Emir happy with continuous efforts to solve the Gulf dispute

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