France aims to be 'facilitator' in Gulf crisis talks


Russia does not notice any impact of the diplomatic crisis around Qatar on the Syrian reconciliation process but believes that the Arab world needs unity to settle conflicts in the Middle East region, Russian ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said Saturday.

"France should be a facilitator in the mediation" led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters following talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

While the six countries are unlikely to be under the illusion that Federation Internationale de Football Association will simply accept their demand, tabling it allows the Saudi-UAE-led alliance to assert that it is not backing down in the Gulf crisis and is increasing pressure on Qatar.

Tillerson arrived back in Doha after meeting Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 24 hours earlier.

He arrived in the region on Saturday, two days after U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson ended a four-day mediation mission with no announcement of progress towards defusing the bitter dispute.

"We need a regional solution and worldwide monitoring", said Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in prepared remarks he was scheduled to deliver on Monday in London.

As part of Cairo's efforts to continue involving public opinion in developments, the Information and Decision Support Center of the Egyptian Cabinet published a report on Thursday on future steps and scenarios for dealing with Qatar "in order to preserve Arab national security".

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Mr Le Drian said France counted on "reinforcing co-operation with Qatar in the fight against terrorism, particularly in combating terrorism financing". After that, Saudi Arabia and its allies, which believed the White House would lend its unflinching support to them against Qatar, were trapped by the USA, and ratified a 10-day ultimatum against Qatar with 13 provisions.

On June 5, the four countries cut diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha, denied Qatar access to their airspace and ordered Qatari citizens to leave.

France is seeking an end to the isolation of Qatar that has separated families across the region amid a spat between a Saudi-led group of nations and their gas-rich neighbour.

Saudi commentators criticized the result of Tillerson's visit to Qatar, saying the signed agreement fell far short of the demands made for Qatar to change its policy of supporting Islamists.

Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

A spokesman for Tillerson said ahead of his landing in Kuwait that it remained to be seen "if there's even a possibility of some outcomes" towards resolving the crisis.