French FM to visit Gulf states, seeks to help end Qatar crisis

July 12, 2017 14:42
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PARIS - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on July 15-16 as part of efforts to ease tension between those countries regarding Qatar, his office said in a statement.

"Concerned by current tensions that are affecting these countries with whom we have close and friendly ties, we call for a rapid de-escalation that would be in everyone's interest," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran - charges which Doha denies.

The French foreign ministry's statement added that the trip was in line with similar strategies being adopted by the United States, Britain and Germany regarding the Gulf, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also conducting a visit to the region this week.

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