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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

The GCC continues to function, despite Qatar: Gargash   

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs makes statement days before GCC summit

Dr Anwar Gargash speaks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. AP
Dr Anwar Gargash speaks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. AP

The upcoming GCC summit in Riyadh indicates the six-nation bloc remains relevant despite the ongoing Gulf dispute, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash tweeted.

On Thursday the minister said the GCC continues to function as a useful intergovernmental union, strengthening the financial bonds between the member states.

“The upcoming GCC summit in Riyadh under Omani presidency is a sign that the GCC continues to be successful economically and in creating a common market, even with the ongoing Qatar crisis. The political crisis will end when Qatar stops funding extremism and interfering in regional stability,” Dr Gargash said.

The official has been among the most outspoken politicians in the 18-month crisis, which has seen his country along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, cut all ties with Doha.

He said the diplomatic spat has allowed the GCC to continue to function but has all but put an end to the the group's development of a common political strategy.

“The current political situation has enabled the technical and administrative meetings, at the expense of strategy and politics, in light of Qatar’s perspective towards the collective interest,” he said.

Dr Gargash represented his country at the last GCC summit held in Kuwait instead of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who usually attends the GCC summit.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Khaled Al Khalifa, said Qatar had already burnt the “ships of return” and its attendance at the summit next week was insignificant.

“Qatari representation is of no concern to us,” the minister said in an interview with Asharq Al Awsat, responding to speculation that Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani might attend.

“The crisis with Qatar has gone further than ever before, and I don’t know how Qatar will return. I don’t see any resolution to the dispute with Qatar”.

The Bahraini minister's stance contrasts with statements by Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Al Jarallah, who said he hopes for a resolution in the coming meeting.

Bahrain has been unwavering in its opposition to dialogue with Doha, with its king vowing last year not to participate in any GCC summit attended by Qatar until it “comes to it senses”.

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