The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar attended round-table talks today ahead of a regional Gulf summit, in their first such encounter since Riyadh cut all ties with Doha. The meeting was also attended by UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash and Bahrain's assistant foreign minister, Abdullah al-Dossari. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, as well as Egypt on June 5 severed all political and economic relations with tiny gas-rich Qatar. They accused the emirate of backing extremist groups, a charge it denied. There have been no contacts between the two sides since then. Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi sat between Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir. Monday's meeting, which was also attended by the foreign ministers of Kuwait and Oman, is to prepare the agenda for the GCC annual summit in Kuwait City on December 5 and 6. Founded in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic union grouping Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Oman and Kuwait. It was not immediately known if the foreign ministers and the leaders at the summit will discuss the worst political dispute in the GCC's 36-year history. Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is attending the summit, but it was not immediately known who will represent Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
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