- Syria closes embassies in Kuwait, Saudi: diplomats
Syria has decided to close its embassies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia because they have refused to accept the accreditations of its envoys, diplomats posted in Damascus said on Wednesday. "Syria's embassies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are to close because these countries have been refusing to accredit the diplomats sent by Damascus since the start of the crisis," one of the sources said.
- Egypt prosecutor: Islamists arrested in Gulf
CAIRO (AP) — The office of Egypt's top prosecutor says it has been informed that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait arrested two members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group after Cairo put out an international warrant on them.
- Arab countries ban 'Noah' citing Islamic concerns
Three Arab countries have banned the biblical epic movie "Noah" because it contradicts Islam, while three more are expected to follow suit, a studio spokesman said Wednesday. Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates told Hollywood giant Paramount last week that the film, starring Russell Crowe, will not be released in their countries. Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait are expected to follow suit. The movie was due to open in Egypt on March 26 and the UAE on March 27, just before the movie comes out in the United States and a swath of other countries.
- Gulf chief bankers meet despite political row
Arab central bank governors of the energy-rich Gulf met Wednesday in Kuwait to discuss combating terror funding and boosting cooperation, despite a tense diplomatic row between its member states. "We are a technical committee which does not interfere in politics," Kuwait's central bank governor Mohammad al-Hashel told reporters. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last week recalled their ambassadors from Qatar for allegedly interfering in their internal affairs. The four nations are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), established in 1981, along with Kuwait and Oman which did not follow the Saudi-led move.
- Saudi listing of Brotherhood as terrorist group complicates Gulf ties
By Yara Bayoumy and Sylvia Westall DUBAI/KUWAIT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's fierce campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, already on the run in its Egyptian birthplace, has divided a Gulf Arab bloc, causing discomfort in some member states where the Islamist group is embedded in daily politics. Feuding with Qatar over Islam's place in a turbulent Arab world, Riyadh recalled its ambassador from Doha last week and branded the Brotherhood, a Qatari ally, a terrorist group. Saudi Arabia has swung firmly behind the Egyptian military, which deposed President Mohamed Mursi last year after mass protests against the Brotherhood leader. Riyadh has since pumped billions of dollars into Egypt's creaking economy.
- Egypt envoy 'will not return' to Qatar amid Gulf spat
Egypt has welcomed the decision of three Gulf states to withdraw their envoys to Qatar and said its own ambassador "will not return" to the Gulf emirate. The unprecedented decision this week by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates was seen as closely linked to Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military in July. In a statement posted online late Thursday, the Egyptian government said it hoped the withdrawal of the envoys would mark "the beginning of a correction of the course taken by the Qatari government, which is contrary to our brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council".
- Qatar rift is pivotal test for disunited Gulf families
By Angus McDowall and Sylvia Westall RIYADH/KUWAIT (Reuters) - A breach between Qatar and some of its Gulf Arab neighbors is a pivotal test for a three-decade-old union of monarchies formed to stand united when threatened by common enemies. Critics of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) blame its inadequacies on petty jealousies, border disputes, or the perceived dominance of its biggest member, Saudi Arabia. Born more out of fear than greed, the GCC, which also includes Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, has managed to present a united front at times of threat ranging from Iranian revolution to Iraqi invasion. Now, even as most Gulf Arab economies are booming and the GCC touts itself as a rare outpost of stability in a turbulent region, the member countries have never appeared more divided.
- World sovereign funds forum switches HQ to London
The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) announced on Wednesday that it is switching its headquarters from Washington to London. "The decision further reinforces IFSWF's position as a significant global institution," said the group, which represents the world's top sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). Sovereign wealth funds are investment vehicles typically controlled by rich countries with trillions of dollars at their disposal ready to invest abroad. The IFSWF was founded in 2009 in Kuwait and brings together 26 leading funds from countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, China, New Zealand, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
- Three Gulf Arab states recall envoys in rift with Qatar
By Angus McDowall and Amena Bakr RIYADH/DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies who have fallen out over the role of Islamists in a region in turmoil. Qatar's cabinet voiced "regret and surprise" at the decision by the fellow-members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys and that it remained committed to GCC security and stability. The Saudi-led trio said they had acted because Qatar failed to honor a GCC agreement signed on November 23 not to back "anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals - via direct security work or through political influence, and not to support hostile media". Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fuming especially over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose political ideology challenges the principle of dynastic rule.
- Kuwait's emir could heal Gulf rift with Qatar: speaker
Kuwait's ruling emir could help soothe a diplomatic rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, Kuwait's parliament speaker said on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE said they were withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar because Doha had not implemented an agreement among Gulf Arab states to avoid interfering in each other's affairs.
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