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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

GCC ambassadors to return to Qatar

Gulf Cooperation Council leaders agreed on the return of Emirati, Saudi and Bahraini envoys to Qatar after an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh, promising an end to eight months of tense relations.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, greets Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz at an extraordinary Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders summit in Riyadh. SPA / AFP Photo
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, greets Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz at an extraordinary Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders summit in Riyadh. SPA / AFP Photo

MUSCAT // The UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia will return their ambassadors to Qatar after an agreement was reached to resolve a months-long dispute between the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The annual GCC summit will go ahead in Doha this December as planned, with Qatar still expected to take over the council’s rotating presidency for the year ahead.

The announcement that ambassadors will return comes after an extraordinary meeting of GCC leaders in Riyadh on Sunday.

The envoys were withdrawn in March following tensions over an unprecedented dispute about Qatar’s support from the Muslim Brotherhood and accusations that Doha was interfering in the internal affairs of the other states.

The following months saw attempts by Kuwaiti and Omani officials to mediate the conflict. Tensions were so high that there was speculation that the annual GCC summit might even be held in Riyadh or Kuwait City instead of Doha.

On Saturday, the UAE declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, along with a number of other groups.

The exact nature of what led to the dispute being resolved was not made public.

A statement on the GCC website said that an agreement was made to begin “a new page that will present a strong base, especially in light of the sensitive circumstances the region is undergoing.”

GCC states, along with an international coalition of countries, have been focused on confronting the rise of ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria.

The danger posed by ISIL is thought to have pushed the countries towards reconciling to present a unified front against terrorism.

“Based on this, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have decided to return their ambassadors to Doha,” the statement said.

The meeting on Sunday was called by Saudi King Abdullah. The UAE delegation was represented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Qatar was represented by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Oman appeared to be the only GCC state not present at the meeting.

jvela@thenational.ae

* with additional reporting by Agency France-Presse

More: Analysis — The GCC finds new meaning amid year of turmoil

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