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France aims to be ‘facilitator’ in Gulf crisis talks

French Foreign Minister Le Drian is to travel on to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE

Image Credit: AFP
French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a press conference with his Qatari counterpart (unseen) in the Qatari capital Doha.
Gulf News

DOHA: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Doha on Saturday that Paris wants to assist Kuwait-led mediation talks on the crisis between Qatar and four other Arab states.

“France should be a facilitator in the mediation” led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters following talks with his Qatari counterpart Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani.

Le Drian flew in to Qatar at the start of a Gulf tour aimed at helping defuse the crisis pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

“France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbours,” said Le Drian, who also met with the emir, Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

“France is talking to all these countries to help in the search for a solution,” he said, calling for “dialogue and calm” between the Arab states concerned.

Le Drian is to travel on to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, following a four-day mediation mission by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that ended on Thursday without any announcement of progress towards defusing mounting tensions in the Gulf.

Qatar’s foreign minister welcomed France’s support for mediation aimed at finding a solution “based on constructive dialogue and respect of state sovereignty and international law”.

“We look forward to France’s support of the Kuwaiti mediation and American efforts,” he said.

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