Gulf officials, including Qatar, discuss ‘cooperation’ ahead of summit

Top Gulf Arab officials hold a virtual meeting to bolster “cooperation” ahead of a summit next month amid efforts to end a rift between a Saudi-led alliance and Qatar.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait take part in the meeting hosted by Manama, while Qatar is represented by its minister of state for foreign affairs.

The participation of Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, would have been seen as another sign towards ending the diplomatic dispute.

Saudi Arabia led its allies the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements — charges Doha staunchly denies.

At the meeting, the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) address “suggestions on supporting and strengthening joint Gulf cooperation in various political, economic and social aspects,” according to a statement by Kuwait’s foreign ministry.

This comes after Manama on Wednesday called for an “end to regional disputes,” softening its rhetoric surrounding the Gulf crisis.