Qatar replaces Oman as host of next Gulf summit


Qatar and its Gulf partners have agreed to a request by Oman that the GCC summit take place in Doha, on the understanding that Muscat will host the 2008 gathering, Abdulrahman al-Attiyah told AFP by telephone.

He did not say why, but sources close to the Omani government said Muscat had asked for the change because it is rebuilding infrastructure and facilities damaged by a June cyclone.

Oman has said the damage caused by Cyclone Gonu could rise to 3.9 billion dollars.

At least 49 people were killed when Gonu hit the coast of Oman along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman on June 6, before veering towards Iran.

The fiercest storm to hit the region for 30 years forced thousands of people from their homes and left a trail of destruction along the east coast of a country unaccustomed to such violent weather.

The venue of the annual end-of-year summit rotates among GCC member states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Last year’s meeting was hosted by Saudi Arabia.

In addition, GCC heads of state hold a mid-year "consultative" summit at the bloc’s headquarters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Despite opting not to host this year’s Gulf summit, Oman is preparing to stage elections to its consultative council on October 27.


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