Positive steps in Qatar crisis, among French mediation efforts

The UAE embraced Qatar’s decision to revise its anti-terrorism laws on 21 July, the first positive sign since sanctions were imposed. The revision aims to combat terror financing. This follows French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s recent Gulf tour where he expressed France’s desire to assist Kuwait’s mediation of the dispute between Qatar and four neighbouring states, calling for an immediate lifting of sanctions targeting Qatar. On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and enforced economic embargoes over accusations of backing terrorism, which Doha rejects. International businesses and residents are wedged in the dispute.

Following Washington's perceived unpredictability, France – along with Britain, Germany, and the EU – have rallied to support Kuwaiti efforts. Le Drian’s visits coincide with French gas transportation systems supplier GTT’s recent articulated interest in Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG), as Doha intends to raise its output by 30% by 2022. Qatari LNG could act as an alternative to American and Russian gas supplies as European demand continues to increase while shifting to sustainable sources.

About author: Elisabeth Gheorghe

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