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Monday, 18 June 2018

France aims to be 'facilitator' in Gulf crisis talks

AFP , Saturday 15 Jul 2017
France, Qatar
French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) speaks during a press conference with his Qatari counterpart Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in the Qatari capital Doha on July 15, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Doha on Saturday that Paris wants to assist Kuwait-led mediation 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 Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Le Drian arrived in Qatar for a Gulf tour aimed at helping defuse the crisis pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt.

"France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbours," he said.

"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 made little progress in defusing mounting tensions in the Gulf.

On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar, accusing the oil-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and maintaining close ties with Iran. Doha has denied the accusations.

Last week, the four Arab countries pledged new measures against Doha following the small Gulf country’s refusal of their initial list of 13 demands to resolve the crisis.
*The story was edited by Ahram Online. 
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