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Kuwait's emir meets GCC chief before Gulf summit

Kuwait is expected to host a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council starting on Tuesday. It comes as the regional alliance is facing its worst crisis in decades, with the blockade of Qatar.

Qatar's FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani

The emir of Kuwait has hosted the chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss the bloc's crucial upcoming summit, six months after a Saudi-led group of countries imposed a blockade against Qatar.

Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani on Sunday briefed Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah about the two-day event starting in Kuwait City on December 5, according to KUNA, Kuwait's state-run news agency.

KUNA did not give any other details about the meeting.

Last week, Kuwait sent out invitations to all six GCC member states, but there is still no certainty about who will attend. 

The GCC is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Since the beginning of the blockade by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain - as well as Egypt - on Qatar on June 5, Sheikh Sabah has acted as a mediator to end the dispute.

In October, he warned of the potential collapse of the GCC if the crisis continues.

"Contrary to our wishes and hopes, the Gulf crisis has the potential of escalating; therefore, all of us must be fully aware of its potential consequences," Sheikh Sabah said at the time.

"Any escalation will bring with it an outright call for regional and international intervention, which will destroy the security of the Gulf and its people."

'Two GCCs'

Marwan Kabalan, director of policy analysis at the Doha Institute, said that the danger of a GCC collapse was real.

"The emir of Kuwait knows very well that if the crisis runs for long, we're going to see two blocks within the GCC. One is led by Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain, and the other will actually have Qatar, Oman and to a lesser extent, probably Kuwait," he said.

"So we'll be having then two GCCs, rather than one."

Asked on Saturday about the crisis at the International Mediterranean Dialogue Conference in Rome, Qatar's foreign minister said it was important for countries to work together.

"We need to reach a level of understanding, guiding security principles that everybody is agreed upon and everybody should adhere to and should be committed to," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said from the Italian capital.

"And then, from there, we build on the next step for cooperation."

He also said that the Gulf region's collective security had been threatened by the measures taken by the blockading countries.

Attack on sovereignty

The blockading countries have accused Qatar of supporting "terrorism", maintaining cordial relations with Iran and meddling in the internal affairs of their countries - allegations the Qatari government has strongly denied.

Qatar maintains there is no legitimate justification for the Saudi-led group's actions, calling its decision a violation of its sovereignty.

Kabalan said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in particular, were "still keen on Qatar surrendering completely to their demands".

"This is something Qatar will not do," he said.

"Qatar has made it clear many times, by the emir of Qatar and by other Qatari officials, that they cannot accept a total surrender. They want a negotiation. They want mutual concessions by all sides, actually, to solve the crisis," added Kabalan.

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