x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 December 2017

Britain welcomes full attendance at GCC summit

The country urged the six countries that make it up to use the body to take further steps towards resuming full cooperation

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah speaks on the phone after a news conference following the annual summit of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Kuwait City, Kuwait, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah speaks on the phone after a news conference following the annual summit of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Kuwait City, Kuwait, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The British government welcomed the attendance at this year’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of all the member states, and has urged the six countries that make it up to use the body to take further steps towards resuming full cooperation.

The minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said that “the UK and GCC are close partners on a range of issues, and we welcome the attendance by all GCC member states at the Summit hosted by Kuwait this week.”

This was referring to the Emir of Qatar turning up despite the ongoing dispute between the Quartet (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) and his country. The summit was cut short from two days to one, with the closing address from Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.

“Unity amongst GCC members is important for the Gulf’s stability and security. We urge our GCC partners to build on the Summit and take further steps towards resuming full cooperation,” Mr Burt continued.

“I pay tribute to the Amir of Kuwait for hosting the summit. The UK fully supports his continued mediation efforts towards a resolution of differences between GCC member states.”

With Brexit looming and the prospect of trade with their former partners in Europe being affected by the resumption of tariffs, the British government has been keen to seek out new regions and organisations that they can have trade deals with.

The GCC contains nations with whom the British have had historical ties, in areas such as the defence and energy sectors. There had been a suggestion that this year’s summit could have taken place in London in an attempt to woo the member states. However, the disruption that has taken place in the region since June put paid to this plan.