France’s foreign minister yesterday called on Qatar’s neighbours to immediately lift measures impacting thousands of people in the Gulf, becoming the latest foreign diplomat to visit the region and attempt to find a resolution to a crisis that has dragged on for more than a month.
“France is calling for these measures to be lifted, especially ones that affect the (Qatari) population, specifically measures that impact bi-national families that have been separated,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Doha.
Qatar and France stressed the importance of joint action to combat terrorism and its financing as part of international efforts to confront the issue.
In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that the common goal of the international community is to combat terrorism and fight its financing, pointing out that the actions taken by the siege countries against Qatar disrupt these efforts.
The Foreign Minister stressed that the fight against terrorism requires collective action, not the exercise of political and intellectual terrorism, in reference to the actions of siege countries against Qatar.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that the Qatari and French sides reviewed during the discussions bilateral relations and their enhancement, and stressed the importance of working to develop them further.
The Foreign Minister said that the visit of the French Minister to Qatar comes at an important time for Qatar, that reflects the strength of the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries in various fields such as security, energy, economy and other important sectors. The Foreign Minister affirmed that Qatar welcomes the efforts of the French Republic in supporting Kuwaiti mediation within the framework of the Gulf crisis and finding a solution based on the sovereignty of states and international law.
H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also stressed that Qatar looks forward to working with France and all partners to tackle the phenomenon of terrorism, and also looks forward to the French role to support Kuwaiti mediation.
Le Drian described his country’s ties with Qatar as strong and advanced, entailing deep cooperation in many fields such as defence and economy as well as culture.
He added in the press conference that his talks in Doha focused on the GCC crisis. He expressed France’s alarm at the deterioration of ties between GCC members as a result of the crisis. He added that France was in contact over the matter with all parties involved, stressing the importance of reaching a resolution.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the French President held many telephone conversations with Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani since the beginning of the GCC crisis to discuss it. Le Drian added that they in France hope the Emir will pay a visit to Paris in the near term.
The French Foreign Minister said that his country is working hard on maintaining a dialogue with all parties. He expressed France’s appreciation to the Kuwaiti mediation efforts to resolve the crisis. He also said that France commends the efforts of US Secretary of State, who visited the region last week, and proposed a road map and a foundation for agreement, which were suitable efforts to Paris.
Le Drian stressed the importance of taking measures that will help all members of the GCC crisis regain trust in order to ease the tensions and find a resolution to the crisis, which is harming the interests of all GCC member countries.
He said that he sensed, during his talks in Doha, the willingness of the State of Qatar to hold constructive talks with its neighbours so long as it doesn’t infringe on Qatar’s national sovereignty, which was what the Emir stressed.
Le Drian called on finding a resolution to the crisis as soon as possible, and lifting all the measures that affected joint families and civilians.
He stressed during the press conference on the importance of cooperating in countering terrorist groups, particularly those designated by the United Nations. He described that effort as a great challenge and a threat that all must face and work hard in the war against terror.
Le Drian praised in that regard Qatar’s commitment towards that, and the commitment of both countries to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism field and countering terrorism finance in the future more than at any time in the past. Le Drian concluded his remarks by saying that his talks in Doha dealt with many subjects and focused on the GCC crisis. He described the latter as the focal point of the meetings in his GCC tour. He added that he is sending a message that calls for dialogue and resolving the crisis for all parties involved.