QATAR HAS DENIED REPORTS THAT IT PLANS TO QUIT GCC
Qatar has denied reports that it plans to quit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, according to Qatar News Media.
Qatar made the announcement as it nears three years of dispute with its Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.
There are 2.3 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the GCC which includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
The OFW deployment in the GCC before the COVID-19 pandemic is as follows: Saudi Arabia, 1,020,819; UAE, 679,819; Oman, 46,000; Kuwait, 250,000; Bahrain, 60,000; and Qatar, 260,000.
“Reports claiming that Qatar is considering leaving the GCC are wholly incoherent and baseless,” Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al-Khartoum said on May 28.
Doha’s denial that it plans to pull out of the GCC comes after a flurry of trips by Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani , who travelled to Oman and Kuwait in an attempt to help break the country’s diplomatic isolation.
During his visits , Al-Thani conveyed messages from Qatari Emir Sheikh Thamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Kuwaiti Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.
Oman and Kuwait are the two other members of the GCC which oversee regional economic and military cooperation.
On May 27, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Nasser Al Sabah arrived in Saudi Arabia for a short visit to deliver a written message to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from the Kuwaiti emir.
The move indicates that Kuwait could be trying to revive mediation efforts to resolve the longstanding crisis as Gulf countries face mounting economic and security challenges.
The region has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, a decline in global oil prices, and social and economic challenges but Doha has particular stake in putting an end to the Gulf dispute.
It continues to feel the brunt of the diplomatic and economic boycott by the Arab quartet led by Saudi Arabia.
Qatar witnessed recently a rare protest by foreign laborers over unpaid wages.
Rumors of Qatar’s imminent departure from the GCC bloc have been rife in Gulf capitals in recent weeks.