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Gulf ministers hold key talks before GCC summit

Gulf ministers hold key talks before GCC summit
From Al Jazeera - December 4, 2017

Foreign ministers of six Gulf countries have met in Kuwait in one of the highest official encounters since a Saudi Arabia-led quartet of Arab countries severed relations with Qatar.

Monday's gathering came a day before a key summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional Arab alliance currently facing its worst diplomatic crisis because of the row over Qatar.

Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled al-Hamad Al Sabah, Kuwait's foreign minister, whileopening the preliminary meeting, said the GCC's unity and solidarity remain intact despite "various challenges and trials", the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said.

KUNA said Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the GCC secretary-general,called for the maintenance of strategic ties between the member states while describing the ministerial meeting as one of the successes of the summit.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani,Qatar's foreign minister,previously said he hopes the GCC summit would provide a blueprint for ending the regional dispute.

The agenda of this year's summit has not been made public, but the crisis is expected to feature at the forefront of discussions.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE cut ties with Qatar on June 5after accusing it of supporting "terrorism". Qatar has strongly denied the allegation.

Kuwait, the main mediator in the standoff, sent out invitations to all GCC member states last week. However, it is not clear if all heads of state will attend the two-day summit.

'Difficult situation'

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