JEDDAH: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Saudi Arabia Saturday and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir.
On the Qatar crisis, the visiting minister reiterated France’s support for Kuwaiti mediation. “We wish to play a supporting role,” he said.
Addressing the same press conference, Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would present Le Drian with “comprehensive dossiers of the negative acts committed by Qatar over years,” adding that a similar file was given to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Al-Jubeir said, however, that Riyadh hopes the crisis could still be solved “within the Gulf house.”
Le Drian agreed that “solving this crisis should be done by the Gulf countries themselves,” reiterating Paris support for Kuwaiti mediation.
“France does not want to substitute the mediator... It wants to be a facilitator by joining efforts of other countries,” he stressed, adding that Tillerson’s initiative is “suitable.”
On bilateral relations, Le Drian said he agreed with the crown prince to activate a joint French-Saudi commission that has been idle for years.
Le Drian also said Saudi Arabia had demonstrated its leadership in the fight against terrorism.
He saluted Saudi Arabia’s role in halting terrorism and extremist thoughts.
“We hope to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in implementing Vision 2030,” he added.
After Saudi Arabia, Le Drian travels to Kuwait and the UAE.
“France should be a facilitator in the mediation” led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters earlier in Doha after talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
“France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbors,” he said.
— With input from AFP