Leaders and officials from six Gulf nations met in the Saudi capital to discuss cooperation - from the economy to security - but it was regional disunity that dominated the summit. Saudi Arabia's King Salman did not mention the blockade of Qatar by his country and two other GCC member states. But it's that dispute, the war in Yemen, and the diplomatic crisis surrounding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that overshadowed the event. So, what does the future hold for the GCC?
US President Donald Trump has expressed Washington's readiness to participate in efforts to solve the Gulf crisis. This came in a phone conversation with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, on Wednesday. During the conversation, Trump highlighted the necessity of maintaining the stability of the Arabian Gulf and emphasised the importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organisations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology. The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary. Trump reiterated that a united Gulf Cooperation Council and a strong United States-Gulf Cooperation Council partnership are critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to approve joint economic activities on disputed islands off Hokkaido, a diplomatic source said Wednesday. In their talks in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, the leaders are likely to sign off on joint activities in five areas -- aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind power and waste reduction, the source said. Tokyo sees the joint activities in the Russian-held islands, also claimed by Japan, as a pathway to resolving the territorial dispute and signing a postwar peace treaty, while Moscow hopes to attract Japanese investments in promoting the underdeveloped regions. With a view to realizing the projects, a group of Japanese government officials and experts from the public and private sectors will conduct their second round of studies on the islands as early as October, the source said. An intergovernmental working group will also be set up to promote the activities, with officials from foreign, trade, health and environment ministries taking part from Japan, it said.