The Saudis and the Emiratis, who are locked in a proxy war for influence in the region, have both expressed a preference for Iran, which they view as a greater regional power.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are all Sunni Muslim nations that have fought a proxy battle for control of the Arabian Peninsula for decades.
While Saudi Arabia and the UAE share common interests in combating terrorism, they are also at odds over their views of Iran and its leaders.
Riyadh has long accused Iran of supporting militant groups in the Middle East, while Tehran has long denied that the Shiite state supports terrorism.
Riyadh’s support for the Islamic Republic in recent years has caused friction between Riyadh and Tehran, which have also sparred over the fate of former President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in 2018.
The UAE and Bahrain also oppose Iran, although the UAE has shown signs of easing its anti-Iran rhetoric in recent months.
They are part of a bloc of Sunni Arab nations that support the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir met on Monday with Emirati President Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who is expected to attend the Riyadh summit.
The meeting was expected to focus on the Houthis and Iran’s nuclear program.
In the Gulf, Bahrain’s King Hamad Al-Khalifa and Emirati King Hamid bin Khalifa bin Rashid have met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The meetings came a day after Saudi Arabia said it had deployed an aircraft carrier to Bahrain to help the Gulf Arab nation fend off Iran-backed Houthi forces.
The carrier, which is equipped with anti-ship missiles, has already carried out exercises with its Arab allies.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV aired an exclusive report on Monday that said the ship was part of an anti-piracy mission against Iranian vessels that have been operating in the Gulf.
Saudi authorities have denied that Iranian ships are operating in Bahrain, saying they are in Bahrain’s territorial waters.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, the bloc of Gulf states that includes Saudi Arabia as a member, was set up by the United Nations in 2006 to promote peace and stability in the Persian Gulf.
But its ties with Iran have worsened amid the conflict in Yemen, which Saudi Arabia supports with its military.
The United Nations Security Council is set to hold an emergency session on Monday to discuss the crisis in Yemen amid a growing number of reports of the Saudi-led coalition killing civilians.
A Saudi-backed militia in Yemen is responsible for a deadly assault on a Yemeni military base that killed at least 19 people, including several children, and injured more than 300, according to a United Nations report published last week.
The Saudi-funded coalition has killed dozens of people and damaged more than 200 facilities in the past two months in Yemen and has reportedly also bombed schools and hospitals.