UAE diplomat warns of 'long estrangement' in Qatar crisis

Henrietta Strickland
July 17, 2017

"France is talking to all these countries to help in the search for a solution".

He also praised Saudi efforts to eradicate terrorism.

Turkey and Qatar have insisted Ankara will keep a new military base in the emirate, rejecting demands from other Gulf countries for the facility to be closed. Prior to the dispute, Qataris could travel visa-free between the Gulf countries. In remarks to reporters Saturday evening, Le Drian said France seeks to play a supportive role to Kuwaiti-led mediation efforts to reduce tensions.

The four states accuse Qatar of disrupting regional security by supporting Islamist opposition groups and extremists.

Qatar called the demands "unreasonable" and said it infringed on its "sovereignty".

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.

These concerns have been present ever since Qatar secured the rights to host the event in late 2010, and have grown in magnitude as Federation Internationale de Football Association became increasingly embroiled in corruption scandals over the past six or seven years.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed met the French foreign minister in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as the diplomat tours the Gulf seeking a solution to the Qatar crisis.

The Saudi Arabia Minister for Foreign Affairs, Adel Bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, said that the foreign ministry will provide the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs with a complete file of negative actions carried out by Qatar over the years, referring to also providing the American side and other countries with the same file. "In light of that, nothing will change and we must look to a different mode in relations", he added.

A month ago, the United States and Qatar signed a deal for the buy of F-15 fighter jets with an underlying expense of $12bn.

Much like the original demands, those principles also failed to garner the kind of worldwide support the alliance needs to push forward with a tightening of the screws on Qatar. Tillerson, however, said the discussions had been "helpful" and that the US planned to keep at it.

Tillerson will shuttle between Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia from Monday to Thursday in what is the first serious intervention by Washington in the Gulf crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are among the world's biggest military spenders, purchasing billions of dollars in equipment from the US and Europe to beef up their militaries. Saudi Arabia and its allies believe the USA has mostly sided with Qatar in the current crisis rather than backing them.

Ultimately, FIFA will want to take a decision on the merits of Qatar's ability to deliver a safe, secure and well managed World Cup rather than based on political arguments, many of which have yet to be substantiated.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Qatar's response to the bloc's conditions had "no substance" and "reflects a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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