Qatari, Saudi ministers at summit talks despite Gulf spat

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries meet in Kuwait City

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries meet in Kuwait City

Foreign ministers meet in Kuwait City in one of the highest official encounters since the row over Qatar began in June.

On Monday, the foreign minister met his Gulf Arab counterparts in Kuwait, sitting around a large wooden table in Bayan Palace with representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain to make preparations for the summit.

The GCC council is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula.

The meeting was also attended by UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash and Bahrain's assistant foreign minister, Abdullah al-Dossari.

Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled al-Hamad Al Sabah, Kuwait's foreign minister, while opening the preliminary meeting, said the GCC's unity and solidarity remain intact despite "various challenges and trials", the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said.

A rift between the Gulf Cooperation Council members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on one side, and Qatar on the other has put this year's annual meeting in doubt.

The four threatened to impose further sanctions on Doha if it failed to accept a long list of demands, including the closure of the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera television.

The emir received an invitation from Kuwait at the end of last month to attend the GCC summit. However, it is not clear if all heads of state will attend the two-day summit. It quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as confirming the emir's attendance and saying he hoped "all parties involved do not need a Western party to intervene".

In October, Sheikh Al Sabah warned of the potential collapse of the GCC if the crisis continued.

The 38th GCC summit will be held in Kuwait on Tuesday and conclude on Wednesday.

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