leaders meeting will be convened this week in Saudi Arabia to commence the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in the hope of retaining a unified front and strengthening ties with Qatar. Riyadh will host the GCC's 42nd summit with senior officials from the region attending to talk over issues of security, economy and politics.
It will be the first time Gulf leaders will convene after ratifying the historic Al-Ula agreement in January in which Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushed forward a deal to end a gap with Qatar that lingered for three and a half years.
WHAT IS GCC?
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The GCC was founded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. The objective of the GCC is to accomplish consensus among its members based on their mutual motives and their similar political and cultural identities, which are embedded in Arab and Islamic cultures.
MOTIVE TO PROCEED WITH THIS SUMMIT?
The 42nd meeting of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit is hoped to unify the rapprochement between Qatar and formerly boycotting states, experts have said, deepening connections after the historic Al-Ula agreement in January.
The meeting, which was held on Tuesday in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, is the first since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates decided to end their conflict with Qatar over a range of issues comprising its foreign policy, which had led them to disconnect diplomatic relations with Doha in June 2017.
The summit overlaps with talks between Iran and world powers hoped at rescuing the landmark nuclear agreement signed in 2015. The pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), lifted sanctions on Tehran and imposed curbs on its nuclear programme. GCC states are committed to finding a course back to the JCPOA, which former US President Donald Trump discontinued in 2018, to reduce the risk of a significant clash that could mire the countries in the region.
KEY ISSUES TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERED IN GCC
GCC members are expected to review ways of easing the problems with Iran, as well as the war in Yemen, Tehran’s links with the Houthi rebels and the role of Iran-linked militias in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
The UAE this year gave a sign of a U-turn in its method towards Iran, turning away from conflict and moving towards diplomacy. Similarly, Saudi Arabia committed to face-to-face talks with its regional archrival for the first time this year, with officials from the countries meeting four times in Iraq’s capital Baghdad and once on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
● The GCC bloc will possibly use the chance to discuss longstanding programs comprising the execution of the Gulf customs union and common market, economic citizenship and the formation of a Gulf rail network.
● Issues like Climate change and resource management are soft and vital security matters on which GCC states are expected to discover more common ground.
● GCC states will possibly talk over new agreements to improve cooperation on international climate policies and renewable energy, the execution of a circular carbon economy, as well as water and food supply security.
● They are expected to address actions to offload an estimated 1.1 million containers of crude oil on board the FSO Safer, one of the world’s largest tankers, which has been eroding since it was evacuated in 2017 north of the Yemeni city of Al Hudaydah.
● The GCC bloc will correspond on emergency measures as a spill is considered increasingly conceivable. An oil spill in the Red Sea would disperse well beyond Yemen and cause environmental damage impacting Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Djibouti.