The absence of half of the Gulf leaders from the 40th summit hosted by Riyadh was confirmed on Tuesday, reported the official media of the six-member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, will miss the Gulf Summit, for the second time in a row. However, he raised the level of his country’s representation in the summit, which will take place on Tuesday, by assigning Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani to lead the Qatari delegation instead of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Soltan Al-Muraikhi, who headed the Doha delegation in last year’s summit.
As usual, the Omani Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, who started a few days ago a treatment trip outside the country, was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said.
The ruler of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who will not attend the summit, is represented by Deputy Prime Minister and vice president of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, replaced him.
Meanwhile, the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa, and the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, will participate in the summit, unlike the Saudi monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, whose country is hosting the summit.
The 39th Summit was held in Riyadh, in the absence of the three leaders as well, although this time Qatar witnessed the raising in the level of its representation, with the Emirati and Omani representation remaining the same.
On Tuesday, the GCC 40th summit will be held in Diriyah Palace, in Riyadh.
The summit was originally scheduled to be held in the UAE. However, it has been relocated to Saudi Arabia without giving any reasons.
According to Emirati media, the 40th summit will be held, following an amendment that would allow the country of the presidency (the UAE this time) to hold the summit in the headquarters country, a measure agreed upon during the 37th Gulf Summit held in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2016.
This procedure was applied for the first time in the previous Gulf Summit, chaired by Sultanate of Oman, while this year’s summit will be held in the headquarters country, i.e. in Riyadh, headed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Reports discussed during the past few weeks a recent breakthrough in the Gulf crisis, which broke out following the imposition of an economic siege on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, since 2017, on the pretext of supporting terrorism. Meanwhile, Doha strongly denied this allegation, considering the blockade as an attempt to hijack the Qatari sovereign decision-making.
Speculations about the end of the crisis have been reinforced by the participation of Saudi, UAE, and Bahrain football teams in the 24th Gulf Cup (Khaleeji 24), after refusing to take part in the competition earlier.