RIYADH (Reuters) - Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold a summit in Saudi Arabia late on Sunday, Bahrain’s state media reported, at a time when the six-member group of Arab monarchies is trying to end a damaging internal rift.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from fellow GCC member Qatar in March, accusing it of undermining their domestic security through its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar each use their oil and gas revenues to influence events in other Middle Eastern countries and any resolution of their differences could sway the political environment in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The annual summit of the GCC was scheduled to be held next month in Qatar, which holds the revolving presidency of the group that also includes Kuwait and Oman.
Qatar’s Emir on Tuesday publicly invited his fellow GCC rulers to Doha for the summit, but diplomats have said some of them wanted to move it elsewhere in protest at what they see as his support for Islamists.
“There will be a meeting this evening. I hope they will reach a compromise on this dispute, that will enable the annual meeting to go forward,” a Gulf Arab official told Reuters.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and regard political Islam as posing a challenge to their own systems of dynastic power. Kuwait has attempted to mediate between its fellow GCC members.
Qatar has given sanctuary to some Muslim Brotherhood members and extended citizenship to Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a cleric with extensive ties to the group. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi also see the Doha-based Al Jazeera news channel as being a Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece, which Qatar denies.
Reporting by William Maclean and Amena Bakr in Dubai; Writing by Angus McDowall in Riyadh; Editing by Mark Potter