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French FM in Kuwait for Gulf crisis talks

July 17, 2017

KUWAIT CITY: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks with top officials in Kuwait on Sunday in a bid to bolster the emirate’s attempts to mediate in the Gulf crisis.

Le Drian met with Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Kuwait’s foreign minister, state news agency KUNA said, for talks on a regional rift which has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahr­ain sever all ties with Qatar.

Le Drian, who is due in the United Arab Emirates, stop­p­ed in Qatar and Saudi Arabia at the start of his two-day Gulf tour on Saturday.

The French foreign minister has supported Kuwait as a mediator in the Gulf crisis, which he said should be res­olved “by the Gulf countries themselves”. “France does not want to substitute the me­d­iator,” Le Drian said in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. “It wants to be a facilitator by joining efforts of other countries”. Le Drian’s visit comes af­ter a four-day mediation mi­s­­sion by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which ended on Thursday with no announcement of progress towards defusing mounting tensions in the Gulf.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017