By Ahmed al-Masri
DOHA, Qatar (AA) – The 38th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit kicked off Tuesday in Kuwait City attended by the emirs of both Kuwait and Qatar, while the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Oman all failed to show up.
The event saw the lowest level of representation at a GCC summit since the council was established in 1981, with only two heads of state — Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani — in attendance.
The GCC is comprised of six member states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
At the summit’s opening session, the Kuwaiti emir called for the creation of a committee tasked with amending GCC bylaws with a view to establishing viable mechanisms for resolving disputes between member states.
"Over the past six months, we have suffered painful events and negative developments," he said.
"But thanks to the wisdom of my fellow GCC leaders, we have been able to restore a degree of calm and will continue to play a moderating role," he added.
"We are meeting today in hopes of maintaining this role with a view to meeting our people’s hopes and aspirations," the emir said.
Tuesday’s summit comes amid a months-long crisis in inter-Arab relations.
In early June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain all abruptly severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Led by Riyadh, the four-nation bloc also threatened to impose additional sanctions on Qatar if it failed to accept a long list of demands.
Qatar strenuously denies the accusations, describing the ongoing attempts to isolate it as a violation of international law and its national sovereignty.
Kuwait, for its part, has led mediation efforts with a view to resolving the crisis, dispatching a host of high-level emissaries to relay messages between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc of Arab states.
-Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran
Speaking at Tuesday’s GCC summit, the Kuwaiti emir also praised Saudi efforts "to arrange meetings between different Syrian opposition factions and forge a common position between opposition groups".
Regarding the ongoing conflict in Yemen, the emir praised the role being played by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, which since 2015 has been fighting Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia group.
As for the moribund Middle East peace process, the emir expressed hope that the international community would soon be able to push both Israel and the Palestinians toward a comprehensive peace deal in line with the 2002 Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative.
Regarding the situation in post-Daesh Iraq, the Kuwaiti emir stressed the need to take part in an upcoming Iraq reconstruction conference to be held in Kuwait in February of next year.
Speaking about the GCC’s relations with Shia Iran, the emir said that Iranian actions in the region "stand contrary to the rules of international law that govern relations between sovereign states, namely good neighborliness, respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs".
He concluded by saying the region would never achieve stability "until all these principles are fully applied".