French For­eign Min­is­ter urges ‘de-es­ca­la­tion’ in Gulf cri­sis

Muscat Daily - - REGION -

Abu Dhabi, UAE - French For­eign Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian called late on Sun­day for a ‘deesca­la­tion’ in the row be­tween Qatar and four Arab coun­tries, as he held talks in the UAE and Kuwait, a me­di­a­tor in the cri­sis.

“It would be prefer­able if the par­ties could en­gage in a process of de-es­ca­la­tion, one that is in­dis­pens­able so that ne­go­ti­a­tions can take place in a con­struc­tive at­mos­phere,” Le Drian said in Abu Dhabi.

He held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Zayed al Na­hayan, who is also deputy com­man­der in chief of the UAE’s armed forces. Abu Dhabi was the last step in a tour of four Gulf na­tions that be­gan on Satur­day and also took Le Drian to Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia and Kuwait.

Ear­lier on Sun­day, the French For­eign Min­is­ter held talks in Kuwait City with se­nior of­fi­cials in a bid to bol­ster the emi­rate’s at­tempts to me­di­ate in the Gulf cri­sis. Le Drian met with the Emir, Sheikh Sabah al Ah­mad al Sabah, and Kuwait’s For­eign Min­is­ter, for talks on a re­gional rift which has seen Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain sever all ties with Qatar.

The French For­eign Min­is­ter has sup­ported Kuwait as a me­di­a­tor in the cri­sis, which he said should be re­solved ‘by the Gulf coun­tries them­selves’. “France does not want to sub­sti­tute the me­di­a­tor,” Le Drian said in Saudi Ara­bia on Satur­day. “It wants to be a fa­cil­i­ta­tor by join­ing ef­forts of other coun­tries.”

Le Drian’s visit comes 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.

Saudi Ara­bia 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.

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