Yemen, Iran to top the agenda of GCC consultative meeting in Riyadh


The tense relations between the Gulf States and Iran as well as the political stalemate in Yemen are expected to dominate the agenda when leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council gather in Riyadh on Tuesday for the annual consultative meeting, the UAE-based Gulf News quoted a source as saying.

“Gulf leaders will discuss the (financial) support to Bahrain and Oman,” the source who declined to be named told the English-language daily. “The developments in Yemen are also expected to be discussed.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait have pledged to establish a $20 billion fund to assist their fellow GCC members, Bahrain and Oman.

The summit comes at a time when GCC-Iran tensions are at a high. The uncovering of an Iranian spy ring in Kuwait and a recent statement by Iran’s Chief of Armed Forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, claiming that the Arab Gulf “belonged to Iran forever” have only served to fuel the tension. Iran’s vocal support for protests in Bahrain and its criticism of the deployment Gulf troops there had also riled GCC officials.

The GCC meeting also comes at a sensitive timing for Yemen. There are hopes that talks in Riyadh could bring a deal, based on the GCC initiative, to end the crisis in the poor country of 24 million people.

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia has received a message from President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen in this regard, Al Arabiya TV reported on Tuesday, without giving more details. The message was delivered by the Prime Minister Ali Magour of Yemen.

The GCC deal, if revived, may see Mr. Saleh appoint a prime minister from the opposition to lead a transitional government and set a presidential vote for 60 days after he leaves. It would also grant immunity from prosecution to President Saleh, his family and aides.

(Abeer Tayel of Al Arabiya can be reached at abeer.tayel@mbc.net)