GCC summit in Kuwait

Muna Al Fuzai

Kuwait has sent out official invitations to all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Qatar and Oman for the 38th GCC summit that is scheduled for December 5 and 6 in Kuwait. The move raised several questions, expectations as well as hopes, such as whether Qatar will accept the invitation and who will represent it, and will the leaders of the other four Gulf states participate despite the ongoing dispute. What are the possible scenarios? Shall we witness an end to the Gulf crisis by the end of this gathering?

Kuwaiti is exerting efforts to bring all parties to one table despite the schism. It seems to me that this is the main message that fully diagnoses the vision of the Kuwaiti mediator, who still hopes for a diplomatic solution to all conflicts, especially since this crisis is a Gulf issue between brothers who are facing similar challenges in the region. Work is underway to finalize arrangements for the Gulf summit’s guests according to the date announced, and this is an indicator of the possibility of dialogue on the Gulf crisis even if the dispute does not end fully by the end of the summit.

I think that the invitation from Kuwait for the summit was not in vain and that the timing would not have been possible without the initial approval of heads of the Gulf countries, including Qatar, to participate without specifying the level of representation, and this cannot be confirmed today. Most press reports stated that Kuwait received assurances from Riyadh that it is keen on the GCC system and open to resolving the Gulf crisis. I guess Kuwaiti diplomatic moves in recent weeks mean that consultation on the summit was held before official procedures began and were released to media.

I think there is a chance for a possible partial easing of the Gulf crisis. Since the outbreak of the Gulf problem about seven months ago, there was no direct meeting between the parties involved, which means that the Kuwaiti summit will be the first direct contact between the Gulf officials in this purely Gulf gathering, and this is a gain and success for Kuwaiti foreign policy.
The previous summit was held in the Bahraini capital of Manama, which was attended by British Prime Minister Theresa May. The British leader emphasized on the common commitment to the security of the Gulf region and the prevention and rejection of any external threat or interference in its internal affairs.

The question is whether any US official will attend this summit as a guest to affirm that US policy is committed to protecting everyone from regional dangers and emphasizing joint action to protect the interests of all. This will be confirmed in the coming days. I think it is a possible scenario under the current crisis, which may have a role in ending the dilemma for the benefit of all.

I believe that the diplomatic solution is dictated now by international circumstances and international pressures on the GCC, because the crisis in the Gulf and its implications are linked to different interests of Western countries Also, maintaining the Gulf Cooperation Council as a united Gulf system is a recognized necessity for all members, despite the differences.

The summit represents a Gulf achievement, although the level of representation of the countries is not yet officially clear. Some thinkers and writers have put forward some scenarios for this summit, most notably the possibility of holding the summit as a negotiating conference to resolve the crisis and to confirm the continuation of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Naturally, there is a little concern that the summit may not end with the desired result. The GCC summit will go ahead despite the row and the Gulf Cooperation Council is still holding up. Gulf brotherhood will not be affected by enemies.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
Muna@kuwaittimes.net

This article was published on 02/12/2017