Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

France steps in to resolve Gulf crisis

France steps in to resolve Gulf crisis

Tillerson concluded his mediation efforts Thursday, making no promise of an imminent breakthrough but voicing optimism that Qatar and its neighbors might soon be willing to talk face to face.

Doha has denied the accusations.

After his visit to Qatar, Le Drian headed to Saudi Arabia where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Qatar and the US signed a deal to combat the financing terrorism, during a visit to Doha by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, a move that comes as the Gulf crisis continues in the region. In remarks to reporters Saturday evening, Le Drian said France seeks to play a supportive role to Kuwaiti-led mediation efforts to reduce tensions.

"In my view there's a changed sense of willingness to at least be open to talking to one another and that was not the case before I came", he said.

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The growing crisis unfolded on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt severed ties with Qatar, officially accusing Doha of supporting "terrorism" and destabilizing the Middle East, allegations that Qatar says are unjustified and stem from false claims and assumptions.

"As to the Muslim Brotherhood, we've had sticking points with these parties ourselves, the USA, in terms of how we view the Muslim Brotherhood's activities", Tillerson said.

Qatar hosts al-Udeid Air Base, the largest US military installation in the Middle East and hub for USA -led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. "And there's a difference of view among these parties over the Muslim Brotherhood, and again in many ways it's not much different than the differences we have".

France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said such punitive measures should end.

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