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Wednesday, 5 March 2014 | MYT 9:50 PM

Kuwait's emir could heal Gulf rift with Qatar - speaker

KUWAIT (Reuters) - 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.

"We follow with concern the implications," Kuwaiti parliament speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said, according to state news agency KUNA.

He added that he looked forward to efforts by Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to "heal a rift between brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council," the agency said.

Kuwait's 84-year-old emir, a veteran diplomat, and his officials have tried to soothe tensions between Gulf states in recent months, such as before a GCC meeting in the country in December, diplomats say.

However, KUNA said on Sunday that the emir, who was foreign minister for four decades, had entered hospital in the United States for minor surgery and his return has not yet been announced. It said the operation was successful but gave no details.

Kuwait's foreign minister said earlier this week that the country is keen to foster a positive atmosphere at an Arab League summit which it is hosting on March 25.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Jon Boyle and Hugh Lawson)

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