Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, in a bilateral meeting, agreed to take collective efforts to counter terrorism and extremism and stop terror financing, reports Al- Arabia. They also discussed bilateral relations, aspects of cooperation and ways to promote them. Le Drian commended Saudi Arabia’s leadership in the fight against terrorism at a joint press conference with Saudi FM Jubeir in Jeddah. Jubeir said he has assured the French foreign minister of the kingdom’s “refusal to finance and support terrorism,” also stating that they will provide France with a full file of the abuses committed by Qatar.
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France is seeking to mediate in the Qatar crisis. Drian also visited Qatar said such punitive measures should end. Addressing a press conference in Doha with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Drian said, “France is calling for these measures to be lifted, especially ones that affect the (Qatari) population, specifically measures that impact bi-national families that have been separated.”
French Foreign Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar comes in the backdrop of ongoing Qatar crisis, which began when Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017.
The Saudi-led coalition cited Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions, insisting Qatar has violated a 2014 agreement with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar claims that it has assisted the United States in the War on Terror and the ongoing military intervention against Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia’s move was welcomed by United States president Donald Trump despite a large U.S. presence at the Al Udeid Air Base, the primary base of U.S. air operations against the Islamic State.