Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

France wants row between Arab states, Qatar settled through talks

US officials were blindsided by Saudi Arabia's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar in a coordinated move with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the current and former officials said.

"There is a certain utility", one USA official said on condition of anonymity. Yemen's internationally backed Government, which no longer holds its capital and large portions of the war-torn country, also cut relations with Qatar, as did the Maldives and one of conflict-ridden Libya's competing governments.

A senior administration official told Reuters the United States got no indication from the Saudis or Emiratis in Riyadh that the action was about to happen. Even before Monday, Qatar had appeared unperturbed by the growing tensions.

"The measures by the anti-Qatar alliance signal commitment to forcing a complete change in Qatari policy or creating an environment for leadership change in Doha", said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa research for Eurasia Group.

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Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down. It's the worst diplomatic crisis to strike the region since the 1991 Gulf War.

David Wech, managing director of Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy, agreed: "We do not see too much cause for concern at this point regarding potential risk to the OPEC-led supply accord now in effect".

The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for a united Muslim front against extremism.

Around 500 Pakistanis are stranded at Hamad International Airport in Doha after Qatar Airway suspended its flights to Saudi Arabia following the diplomatic rift. They said they would take a hard line on funding.extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.

Although Qatar is a small oil producer, other Opec states could see such an action as a reason to stop restraining their own output, traders said.

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The Clinton administration pushed a similar plan in the 1990s. "The fight is engaged and the momentum has shifted significantly". They point to the slow-going move from a radar-based system to one that uses GPS technologies as evidence of a need for change.

USA lawmakers have 30 days to block the sales, but that rarely happens.

However, Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, says that what happens next will be key. "I doubt very much we will sit on the sidelines and let this crisis get more serious". But Qatar's largesse has produced few allies to help it face down its more powerful neighbours.

The United Arab Emirates has issued the following statement: "The UAE affirms its complete commitment and support to the Gulf Cooperation Council and to the security and stability of the GCC States".

The state-run KUNA news agency said Prince Khaled al-Faisal, an adviser to Saudi King Salman and the governor of Mecca, delivered a verbal message to Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dealing with "bilateral relations. and the latest regional and worldwide developments".

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Macron said that the issues of tackling terrorism was discussed at length during his talks with Prime Minister Modi and France fully supports India's fight against terrorism.

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