Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Polish democracy under threat: EU warns Warsaw over judicial independence

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Game of Thrones and TV's golden age

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of the summer's exhibitions in Paris

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Game of Thrones returns: Mega fans bask in themed pop-up bar

Read more

FOCUS

Unwanted children: 3,800 babies abandoned in South Africa every year

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Looking for Lenin': The search for fallen Soviet statues in Ukraine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

From footballer to inmate: Will OJ Simpson be released?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Time to taper? ECB governing council meets in Frankfurt

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Macron and the military: Has power gone to his head?

Read more

France

France wants to help mediate Gulf crisis, foreign minister says

© STRINGER / AFP | French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) speaks during a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir (R), Jeddah,July 15, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-16

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

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

He later flew to Jeddah for talks with Saudi officials.

"France should be a facilitator in the mediation" led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters after talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Le Drian reiterated the same statement in Jeddah.

"France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbours," he said in Doha where he also met the emir, Sheikh 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 arrived in the region after a four-day mediation mission by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended on Thursday with no 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.

Riyadh and its allies imposed sanctions on Doha on June 5, including closing its only land border, denying Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from the emirate.

Plea for Gulf unity

They accuse Doha of supporting extremism and being too close to their arch-rival Iran.

Le Drian said France counted on "reinforcing cooperation with Qatar in the fight against terrorism, particularly in combatting terrorism financing".

His Qatari host said the fight against terrorism needed collective efforts and "cannot be shouldered by one state".

"Combatting terrorism also cannot be through practising political and intellectual terrorism against a state," Sheikh Mohammed said, referring to the measures taken against Doha by its neighbours.

In Jeddah, Le Drian met his counterpart Adel Jubeir and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"We look for everyone's determined commitment against terrorism, its support and financing. In this perspective, it is important that GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries should be united, to remain a rampart against instability," he said.

Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would present Le Drian with "comprehensive dossiers of the negative acts committed by Qatar over years", adding that a similar file was given to Tillerson.

He said, however, that Riyadh hopes the crisis could still be solved "within the Gulf house".

Le Drian agreed that "solving this crisis should be done by the Gulf countries themselves", reiterating Paris's support for Kuwaiti mediation.

"France does not want to substitute the mediator... It wants to be a facilitator by joining efforts of other countries," he stressed, adding that Tillerson's initiative is "suitable".

On bilateral relations, Le Drian said he agreed with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to activate a joint French-Saudi commission that has been idle for years.

After Saudi Arabia, Le Drian travels to Kuwait and the UAE.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-07-16

  • TURKEY - QATAR

    Why Turkey is backing Qatar in Gulf diplomatic crisis

    Read more

  • GULF - DIPLOMACY

    US attempts Gulf diplomacy, but Saudis say terms are ‘non-negotiable’

    Read more

  • Middle East

    Why Iran and Oman are strengthening relations

    Read more

COMMENT(S)