Al-Ula Summit is beginning of a new phase for the GCC as a whole and dialogue must be the way forward, said experts expressing cautious optimism at a webinar yesterday while highlighting the need for legal frame work such as a GCC court to settle regional issues.
The webinar, “After the Al-Ula Summit: Prospects for a GCC Rapprochement,” was organised by Brookings Doha Centre. Hesham Alghannam, senior research fellow at the Gulf Research Centre, Cambridge; Ebtesam al-Ketbi, president, Emirates Policy Centre; Majed al-Ansari president, Qatar International Academy for Security Studies and Abdullah al-Shayji, professor of International Relations and US Politics, Kuwait University shared their views on the recent development in GCC as well as the way forward.
The session was moderated by Noah Aboueldahab, fellow at Brookings Doha Centre. Al-Ketbi said the GCC needed a court of its own to solve the issues. “There needs to be confidence building measures and a proper mechanism to settle the issues. European Union has its own court. Similarly, GCC needs a court that can resolve many of the regional issues. Al-Ula is the beginning of a new phase for the GCC,” she noted.
Alghannam highlighted that GCC has to go forward resolving all the differences. “GCC is here to stay and everyone wants to maintain it. There was no conflict between the countries but certain differences. It might take some time to heal all the issues and restore trust deficit so that a crisis such as the resolved one, never happens again,” he explained.
The panellists also highlighted that bilateral resolutions are necessary to gain the trust of each country and country to country level discussions will help in solving the issues. They noted that such practices will help in preventing any such crisis in the future.
“Differences should be resolved through strategic dialogue, which is the only way forward. There must be a proper framework to get them sorted out which will naturally result in more development for everyone,” said Dr al-Ansari.
The panellists also highlighted the role played by Kuwait in bringing the rapprochement as well as the mediation efforts of the US.
Al-Shayji added: “GCC unity is a necessity and not a luxury. There was lack of communication as well as lack of trust. As we turn a new page in GCC history, it has to be followed up with measures to build up a stronger bond among all the countries.”
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