Kuwait seeks to heal Gulf rift ahead of Arab Summit

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew envoys form Qatar to protest Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood

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Kuwait is seeking to mediate an end to the standoff between Qatar and three Gulf countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain – ahead of a planned Arab summit to be held on March 25, a prominent Kuwait lawmaker has said.

Ali al-Rashid, the head of the foreign affairs committee at the Kuwaiti parliament, told reporters on Tuesday that his committee was supporting official efforts to “heal the rift” and push for reconciliation between the Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar earlier this month to protest Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group blacklisted by both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi as a terrorist group.

The trio said that Qatar had not “committed to the principles” of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), adding that "Qatar has to take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of the GCC states."

Qatar expressed “regret” and “surprise” at the recall of Gulf envoys, vowing to change its foreign policy.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Tuesday the political crisis with Qatar is unlikely to be solved "as long as Doha does not revise its policy," the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper cited him as saying.

"If Qatar’s policy, which sparked the crisis, is amended, then there will be a breakthrough," he told the newspaper.

The minister also said that it is unlikely that Western mediation will play a hand in settling the dispute with Doha.

"There is no American mediation to resolve the Gulf crisis," he said.

Al-Hayat quoted sources as telling the newspaper last week that a number of Saudi officials did not attend bilateral meetings in Doha with their Qatari counterparts.

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