The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations gathered on Tuesday at the 41st GCC Summit in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, where a historic accord was signed. The 41st GCC Summit, named The Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah, in memory of the two leaders, saw the signing of the Al Ula Declaration, by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, thereby restoring their diplomatic relationship with Qatar.
The GCC is an economic alliance made up of six countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Kuwait, which alongside Oman had remained neutral in the rift since 2017, acted as the mediator for both sides. This landmark declaration calls for unity of the GCC and marks the start of a new period of cooperation amongst these Middle Eastern countries.
Egypt has also joined the three Arab countries in restoring all relations with Qatar following the signing of the Al Ula Declaration.
On the occasion, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman stated: “This affirms the importance of the solidarity and stability in the Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries and strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among our countries and peoples in order to serve their aspirations.”
He added: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s firm and continuous policy, future plans, and ambitious development vision (the Kingdom Vision 2030) prioritizes a unified and solid Gulf Cooperation Council. In addition to strengthening the Arab and Islamic cooperation in a way that serves the security, stability, and prosperity of our countries and the region.”
In a post-event news conference, Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said: “What happened today is the turning of the page on all points of difference and a full return of diplomatic relations.”
The signing of the Al Ula Declaration has ended a dispute that had been ongoing since 2017, and will see a resumption of all relationships between the countries, including international travel.