France salutes Saudi role in fighting terrorism

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates Anwar Gargash speaks at an event at Chatham House in London

He was speaking to reporters in Qatar alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who said he welcomed mediation efforts and possible negotiations so long as they are founded on respect for "sovereignty".

The visit comes after USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson worked to help solve the row earlier this week, as well as visits from British and German officials.

The top French diplomat also said his respective country "should be a facilitator in the mediation" led by Kuwait, a key mediator in the crisis.

Le Drian, who arrived in Qatar a few hours before the press conference, intends to begin a Persian Gulf tour aimed at defusing the unprecedented crisis through holding talks with leaders of the involved countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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"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.

He also saluted Saudi Arabia's role in halting terrorism and extremist thoughts. The Brotherhood was a major player in the Arab spring revolts across the Middle East and North Africa. Tillerson, however, said the discussions had been "helpful" and that the USA planned to keep at it. "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".

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday called on Arab countries to make efforts to reduce tension in the region, noting that the current diplomatic crisis with Qatar benefited nobody. The countries say a pact the Gulf nation signed with the US last week to disable the flow of money to terrorist groups isn't enough to end the rift, and insisted their demands that Qatar change its policies be met in full.

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