Al-Jubeir says calls for internationalization of Hajj pilgrimage ‘a declaration of war’

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir with his counterparts from the Anti-Terror Quartet — Bahrain’s Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry and the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan — in Manama on Sunday. (Reuters)
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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks at Sunday’s joint meeting of the Anti-Terror Quartet. (Reuters)
Updated 31 July 2017
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Al-Jubeir says calls for internationalization of Hajj pilgrimage ‘a declaration of war’

MANAMA: Saudi Arabia considers Qatar’s demands for an internationalization of the Hajj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the Kingdom, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Speaking to Al Arabiya and Al Hadath TV channels at the end of Sunday’s meeting of the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ), Al-Jubeir said: “Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom.”
He added: “We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites.”
The ATQ — comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — has previously issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which include curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the Al Jazeera channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with Gulf enemy Iran.
On Sunday, the foreign ministers of the four countries said they were ready for dialogue with Qatar if it showed willingness to tackle their demands.
In their joint statement, the ministers denounced the deliberate act of Qatari authorities to obstruct the performance of Hajj rituals by Qatari nationals.
They commended the facilities provided by the government of King Salman to all pilgrims.
According to Reuters, Al-Jubeir said Qatar was not serious in tackling the countries’ demands.
“We are ready to talk with Qatar on the implementation of the demands, on the implementation of the principles, if Qatar is serious, but it has been clear that it is not,” the minister told a joint news conference after the meeting.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa added: “The four countries are ready for dialogue with Qatar with the condition that it announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and respond to the 13 demands.”
The four countries added 18 more groups and individuals they say are linked to Qatar to their terrorist lists last week. They cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing militant groups.
The four ministers had met previously in Cairo in early July to discuss Qatar’s response to the list, which they described at the time as “negative.” 
In the weeks since that meeting, the ATQ appears to have reined back some of those demands, urging Qatar to commit to six principles on combatting extremism and terrorism and to negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement.


France’s FM visits Libya to boost reconciliation deal

Updated 3 min 36 sec ago
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France’s FM visits Libya to boost reconciliation deal

  • Jean-Yves Le Drian met with Fayez Serraj, the prime minister of the Libya's UN-backed government
  • Le Drian said he will meet with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar

CAIRO: France’s foreign minister visited Libya on Monday to encourage holding elections in the north African country later this year as part of a reconciliation agreement reached by the country’s main political rivals in Paris in May.
Jean-Yves Le Drian met with Fayez Serraj, the prime minister of the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli.
In a press conference with Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, Le Drian said he will meet with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the commander of Libya’s self-styled national army, and the speaker of the country’s internationally-recognized parliament, Agila Saleh.
He said France will provide $100 million in financial support through the UN to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10.
In May 2018, Serraj and Haftar agreed on a roadmap aiming to restore order in Libya, where lawlessness has fueled Islamic militancy, human trafficking and instability in the wider region. Moving toward parliamentary and presidential elections by the end of 2018 was a key goal of the meeting hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The plan however faces obstacles in the north African country, where rival authorities rely on an array of unruly militias.
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed ruler Muammar Qaddafi. France was at the forefront of the NATO airstrikes, carried out along with the United States and others.
Elections were held shortly after Qaddafi’s demise, but failed to bring stability. In the years since, Libya has emerged as a major conduit for African migrants hoping to reach Europe. Libya is split between rival governments in the east and west, each one is backed by militias, tribes and political factions.