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Le Drian in Jeddah to Tackle Qatar’s Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a meeting in Rome, Italy, on July 6, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Jeddah- Amid speculations about additional escalations and a long estrangement in the Qatari crisis, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives in Jeddah on Saturday as part of his Gulf tour that follows similar trips made by his US, British and German counterparts in the past weeks.

Le Drian’s two-day visit to the region includes Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and aims for “a rapid de-escalation” of the crisis.

According to a French official statement, Le Drian’s tour seeks to bring the viewpoints closer between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet, which broke off last month diplomatic relations with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.

The statement issued by the French Embassy in Riyadh said that the Foreign Minister would meet on Saturday with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, deputy premier and minister of defense, as well as his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir. The two men will then hold a joint press conference on Saturday night.

During his Gulf tour, Le Drian also hopes that France could contribute in the Kuwaiti-led mediation that is fully supported by Paris.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had wrapped up on Thursday his Gulf tour that aimed to reach a progress in breaking the deadlock between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet. However, Tillerson left without making any statement or holding any press conference.

For his part, UAE’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Friday that the Qatari crisis is not going to end anytime soon, adding the Arab quartet and Doha were “heading into a long estrangement.”

Commenting on his Twitter account, Gargash said the four countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have every right to protect their sovereignties, adding that the boycott will be strengthened.

“We are headed for a long estrangement … we are very far from a political solution involving a change in Qatar’s course, and in light of that nothing will change and we have to look for a different format of relations,” he said.