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Gulf dispute unacceptable, must be resolved: Kuwaiti emir

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Kuwait City (AFP)

A damaging 30-month-old dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours "is no longer acceptable" and must be resolved, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said Tuesday.

Addressing the opening session of parliament's new term, Sheikh Sabah said the Saudi-led boycott has greatly weakened the unity of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in which Qatar and its foes are members.

GCC members Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in addition to Egypt, imposed a sea, land and air boycott of Qatar in June 2017 accusing it of ties to radical groups. Doha has repeatedly denied the allegations.

"It is no longer acceptable or bearable for the dispute that erupted between our GCC brethren to continue," Sheikh Sabah, 90, told parliament in his first public appearance since travelling abroad for medical treatment in early September.

Sheikh Sabah, who has been acting as a mediator to resolve the dispute, said the "row has weakened our capabilities and threatened our achievements", calling for a negotiated solution.

The emir called for national unity in the face of regional developments and protests in several Arab countries.

He also hit out at the misuse of social media, saying it has created divisions in society.

In Kuwait, dozens of online activists have been sentenced to various jail terms, mainly for criticising the emir.

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