France salutes Saudi role in fighting terrorism

France has called on a Saudi-led quartet of Arab countries to immediately lift sanctions on Qatari nationals as an unprecedented diplomatic rift between the so-called siege states and the Persian Gulf's peninsular country increasingly deepens.

Jeddah - Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, held talks with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian here on Saturday.

To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its tiny neighbor, through which much of Qatar's food supply crossed.

Gulf states' demands which include the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar are "unacceptable", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday.

Gargash, who regularly comments on the Qatar crisis to his 437,000 followers on Twitter, said the Arab bloc, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, and Qatar were "heading into the long estrangement", Xinhua news agency reported.

Also, press reports claimed the four countries asked Washington to delay the permanent lifting of sanctions on Sudan in order to put pressure on Khartoum government which refuses to sever relations with Qatar.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also told reporters in Ankara on Friday that Qatar would continue to work with the United States and Kuwait to end the standoff with its four Arab neighbors.

"Combatting terrorism also can not be through practising political and intellectual terrorism against a state", Sheikh Mohammed said, in reference to measures taken against Doha by its neighbours.

Later addressing a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir, Le Drian commended Saudi Arabia's leadership in the fight against terrorism.

Le Drian, who will visit the UAE and Gulf mediator Kuwait on Sunday, follows in the steps of other world powers in the region, including the United States, whose Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to find a solution to the impasse this week.

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