The 39th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit was held two days ago in the Saudi capital of Riyadh with full representation of its members although Qatar’s representation was at a lower level, which everyone expected as a repercussion of the unfortunate GCC crisis.
The Qatari side was represented by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sultan Al-Mureikhi, while the other members were represented by their leaders: His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahad bin Mahmoud representing Sultan Qabous, and the summit’s host Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
An agreement was reached to hold the next summit in the United Arab Emirates.
Due to the timing of this summit and the ongoing GCC crisis, nothing new was expected to come out of it. Apart from the summit maintaining its routine, the scene of each member State having its representative is a positive sign and an achievement as far as the crisis is concerned.
Undoubtedly, this achievement is credited to the mediation efforts of HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who was keen on ensuring that Qatar is represented even symbolically in the summit, although its representation was not enough.
Naturally, we ought to understand that in such crises, whatever appears is just the tip of the iceberg. Without a doubt, communication is always ongoing within the GCC members irrespective of the type and level of communication
This can be ascertained through leaks from time to time concerning these communications. Definitely, the concerned parties are not obliged to confirm or deny anything.
An impressive aspect of the summit came from the speech of HH the Amir of Kuwait who brought up the GCC crisis. He emphasized the GCC unity, pointing out that any quack could weaken the positions of GCC countries internationally and that standing together guarantees confidence of global institutions on GCC members.
He also called for halting media smear campaigns against each other as they have affected the children of member States. The Omani delegation that wished for the end of the unfortunate crisis seconded the Amir.
In moments which received wide publicity, HH the Amir of Kuwait was seen looking for the Qatari flag among the other GCC flags. He adjusted it before standing for a commemorative photo with other GCC delegations. Later, the Qatari delegation was seen kissing HH the Amir’s forehead as a sign of honor and respect.
These impromptu moves are considered indirect political statements, given that they went viral on social media and attracted mixed reactions. The host country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, dealt with all its guests equally as far as protocols governing such an event go.
The GCC summit ended successfully, but it did not make any worthy progress as far as the GCC crisis is concerned. This will continue troubling the atmosphere that all members share, especially their citizens.
Finally, there is no doubt that this regional gathering under the same roof gives strength and support as opposed to unilateral stands which weaken any building regardless of the strength of its pillars.
Repercussions of division will eventually take a toll on various common aspects such as financial wealth and social cohesion. It is imperative to build bridges to close the gap between varying opinions and to avoid burning the remaining bridges.