Middle East

Gulf Arab leaders to meet in Riyadh: Bahrain state media

(From L to R) Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullateef al-Zayyani, Bahraini Defence Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, Saudi Defence Ministry's undersecretary Mohammad Bin Abdullah al-Ayesh, Kuwaiti Defence Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Jarrah al-Sabah, Omani Defence Minister Bader al-Busaedee, Qatari Defence Minister Major General Hamad Bin Ali Al Attiyah and UAE Defence Ministrey's undersecretary Mohammad al-Fallasi, pose for a family picture at the Bayan Palace in Ku

RIYADH: Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold a summit in Saudi Arabia late on Sunday, Bahrain's state media reported, at a time when the six-member group of Arab monarchies is trying to end a damaging internal rift.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from fellow GCC member Qatar in March, accusing it of undermining their domestic security through its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar each use their oil and gas revenues to influence events in other Middle Eastern countries and any resolution of their differences could sway the political environment in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The annual summit of the GCC was scheduled to be held next month in Qatar, which holds the revolving presidency of the group that also includes Kuwait and Oman.

Qatar's Emir on Tuesday publicly invited his fellow GCC rulers to Doha for the summit, but diplomats have said some of them wanted to move it elsewhere in protest at what they see as his support for Islamists.

"There will be a meeting this evening. I hope they will reach a compromise on this dispute, that will enable the annual meeting to go forward," a Gulf Arab official told Reuters.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation and regard political Islam as posing a challenge to their own systems of dynastic power. Kuwait has attempted to mediate between its fellow GCC members.

Qatar has given sanctuary to some Muslim Brotherhood members and extended citizenship to Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a cleric with extensive ties to the group. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi also see the Doha-based Al Jazeera news channel as being a Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece, which Qatar denies.

 

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