Breakthrough in GCC-Qatar row

Updated 02 September 2014
0

Breakthrough in GCC-Qatar row

Saudi Arabia and other GCC states have reached a breakthrough toward ending their dispute with Qatar, having agreed on principles to overcome differences, leaders of the six-member group have said.  
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah, who presided over a key GCC meeting in Jeddah on Saturday, gave the good news, but insisted that Doha implement the Riyadh Agreement to reach a final settlement.
This developed after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal led a delegation in a diplomatic blitz to Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE prior to the GCC meeting in Jeddah. All four kingdoms are members of the GCC, together with Kuwait and Oman.
“We have agreed on principles and criteria to overcome obstacles as soon as possible,” said Sheikh Sabah, the current president of the GCC Ministerial Council.
The Kuwaiti foreign minister did not give a time frame for a final agreement and said: “Do not be surprised if the ambassadors return at any time.”
Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi Abdullah was optimistic following the Jeddah meeting as he told Agence France Press (AFP) that differences with Qatar had been resolved and that the ambassadors would return.
The minister, however, did not specify a date for their return.
Saudi analyst Badr Almotawa commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to narrow differences among the GCC member states and strengthen their unity.
Speaking with Arab News, he referred to the visit of a GCC delegation led by Prince Saud to Doha, Manama and Abu Dhabi.
“It was a high-level move on the part of Saudi Arabia and the delegation included Intelligence Chief Prince Khaled bin Bandar and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif,” Almotawa said, adding that Qatar has praised the Saudi initiative for reconciliation.
He also pointed out that Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin and National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah had also visited member states to resolve the issue amicably.
“The Qatari emir’s vision and pragmatic approach will contribute to strengthening GCC unity,” he added.
According to Kuwaiti diplomatic sources, one point of contention was Qatar’s refusal to endorse the report drafted by the committee supervising Doha’s compliance with the Riyadh Agreement.
They also said that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE demanded that Qatar expand its efforts to comply with the agreement, while Qatari officials demanded more time to implement all of its articles.


Cyclone Mekenu pummels UNESCO-protected Socotra island, several feared dead, others missing

Updated 56 min 36 sec ago
0

Cyclone Mekenu pummels UNESCO-protected Socotra island, several feared dead, others missing

  • Cyclone Mekunu hit the Yemeni island of Socotra Wednesday night, causing severe flooding and damage to houses
  • 150 families had been evacuated and moved to government facilities after downpours caused houses and streets to flood, trapping people in their homes

SOCOTRA: Hundreds evacuated from their homes after Cyclone Mekunu hit the Yemeni island of Socotra Wednesday night, causing severe flooding and damage to houses, officials said.
Several are feared dead and others reported missing. Four crew members on board a boat that sunk when the storm hit the island in the Arabian Sea were missing, a fisheries ministry official told AFP.
Another official said that 150 families had been evacuated and moved to government facilities after downpours caused houses and streets to flood, trapping people in their homes.
Some residents carrying children tried to escape through the flooded streets, an AFP correspondent said.


In neighboring Oman, authorities announced through the official news agency they were taking “necessary precautions” in case the cyclone hits the Gulf sultanate.

Millions of Yemenis are living in dire conditions as a result of a long-running civil conflict, which since 2015 has pitted a Saudi-led coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi militias.
But Socotra has been spared involvement in the violence, which has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since March 2015 and triggered what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.