By Omnia Al Desoukie
Dubai, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- Saudi Arabia will host the 41st Gulf annual summit on Tuesday with the reconciliation with Qatar, establishing ties with Israel, the alleged threat posed by Iran and the expected change in US Middle East policy following the departure of Donald Trump high on the agenda.
Despite receiving an invitation, Qatar’s ruler Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has not confirmed his participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s summit.
Al-Thani has not taken part in a GCC summit since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Doha and imposed a blockade on the oil-rich country in 2017.
“Although there appears to be political will among GCC leaders to resolve the Gulf rift, reconciliation still remains elusive,” Dania Thafer, the Executive Director of the Washington-based Gulf International Forum told Efe.
“The best outcome for the Gulf rift in the upcoming summit would likely be an agreement of confidence-building measures which could be a framework for future negotiations such as Saudi Arabia lifting the air blockade on Qatar,” she added.
Thafer said that even if there was a full agreement, there will be “trust-deficit” between Qatar and the blockading states that accuse Doha of sponsoring terror and prioritizing the interests of Iran and Turkey.
A month ago, Kuwait – which has historically mediated in the Gulf’s conflicts – revealed that talks have taken place, developments that were confirmed by Saudi Arabia.
This is the first summit to be held since UAE and Bahrain established ties with Israel this year, a move that some Middle Eastern countries see as weakening the united Arab stance on the Palestinian cause.