French Foreign Minister: ‘Only Gulf States Can Solve the Crisis’

Kuwait- French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has concluded his tour to four Gulf states by asserting from the UAE on Sunday that the solution lies in the hands of GCC countries themselves and noting the pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism.

Le Drian concluded his Gulf tour in Abu Dhabi where he met UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discussed means of boosting bilateral cooperation in addition to other regional and international issues besides the Qatari crisis.

The French FM arrived in Abu Dhabi from Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis, where he held talks with Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and his Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah.

Le Drian met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and FM Adel al-Jubeir in Jeddah on Saturday.

“We salute Saudi Arabia for its role in the fight against terrorism and extremist ideology, and Saudi Arabia has shown its leadership in the fight against terrorism,” Le Drian said.

He started his tour from Doha, where he met his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Saturday.

He told reporters after the meeting that “France should be a facilitator in the mediation that is led by Kuwait.”

German FM Sigmar Gabriel, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the Gulf in recent weeks to try and resolve the dispute.

However, their efforts to resolve the crisis with Qatar did not succeed as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt accuse it of leading a policy that encourages extremism, nurtures terrorism and systematic intervention in the internal affairs of the states to create chaos, tension, and hatred.

In this context, Le Drian’s visit to Jeddah resulted in a Saudi-French agreement on the necessity to fight all terrorist parties and commit to halt funding and supporting them.

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

“There are basic principles that must be committed to by all countries, including Qatar,” he said. “The first is not supporting terrorism and the financing of terrorism. The second is to refrain from supporting extremism and from inciting and spreading hatred.”

Jubeir said Riyadh hoped 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’ support for the Kuwaiti mediation.

“We look for everyone’s determined commitment against terrorism, its support and financing. In this perspective, it is important that GCC countries be united, to remain a rampart against instability,” he said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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