France’s foreign minister has expressed concern about the deterioration of relations between Qatar and its Arab neighbors and called for sanctions that target Qatari nationals to be lifted.
Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke to reporters after talks with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in Doha on Saturday.
A group of nations that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism and has given Doha a 13-point list of demands after severing diplomatic ties in early June.
Qatar has said it is willing to negotiate but will not give up its sovereignty.
“France calls for the lifting, as soon as possible, of the measures that affect the populations, in particular binational families, that have been separated, or students,” Le Drian told reporters in Doha after he his meeting with Al-Thani.
Later in the day, Le Drian flew to Jeddah, where he repeated his concerns about the effects of the standoff in a televised press appearance with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
Jubeir said any resolution of the worst Gulf crisis in years should come from within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.
“We hope to resolve this crisis within the Gulf house, and we hope that wisdom prevails for our brothers in Qatar in order to respond to the demands of the international community — not just of the four countries,” he said.
He reiterated that Qatar should not support terrorist groups and their financing or host their members and should end incitement through the media.
Qatar has repeatedly denied such accusations and rejected demands to close down the Al Jazeera network, as initially requested by the boycotting states.
Le Drian, who will visit the United Arab Emirates and Gulf mediator Kuwait on Sunday, followed in the steps of other world powers in the region, including the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the region earlier this week but left with little apparent progress in resolving the standoff.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.