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Mohamed, Le Drian discuss ME   

Gulf Today - 17 July, 2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Mohamed Bin Zayed and Le Drian discussed bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

The Saudi Arabia Minister for Foreign Affairs, Adel Bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, said that the foreign ministry will provide the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs with a complete file of negative actions carried out by Qatar over the years, referring to also providing the American side and other countries with the same file.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, during a joint press conference held in Jeddah with the French foreign minister, Jubeir said that he hoped that the crisis would be resolved within the Gulf countries, and for Qatar to have the wisdom to respond to the demands of the international community, not just the four countries. He pointed out that the international community refuses their support of terrorism and extremism, and hosting people involved in this matter.

Earlier during the day, Drian held talks with top officials in Kuwait in a bid to bolster the emirate’s attempts to mediate in the Gulf crisis.

Le Drian met Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and Kuwait’s foreign minister, state news agency Kuna said, for talks on a regional rift which has seen Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain sever all ties with Qatar.

The French foreign minister has supported Kuwait as a mediator in the Gulf crisis, which he said should be resolved “by the Gulf countries themselves.”

“France does not want to substitute the mediator,” Le Drian said in Saudi Arabia. “It wants to be a facilitator by joining efforts of other countries.”

$ 1B LOAN

The refinancing of a $ 1 billion loan by Doha Festival City, a retail and hospitality complex in Qatar, has been indefinitely postponed as a diplomatic crisis deters regional banks from doing new Qatari business, bankers said.

The refinancing, coordinated by Doha-based investment bank QInvest, was marketed earlier this year to both Qatari and regional banks, including institutions in the UAE.

It was to have been larger in size than the original loan — perhaps around $ 1.2 billion, bankers said.

Jubeir said that during his meeting with the French minister he discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, efforts exerted to combat terrorism and extremism, and the most prominent regional and international issues.

He added that they also discussed region’s current situation, peace process developments, the situation in Syria, finding solutions to the implementation of the Geneva Declaration 1 and Security Council Resolution No. 2254, as well as the situation in Iraq, SPA added.

Jubeir stressed that there are basic principles that all countries, including Qatar, must abide by, including stop supporting terrorism, extremism, incitement and spreading hatred through the media in any form, in addition to stop hosting terrorist people or those involved in the financing of terrorism or wanted from their countries, and not to interfere in the affairs of countries in the regions.

The French minister expressed his concern about the current crisis with Qatar and its political and economic impact. He pointed out that France is in contact with all parties, and that this crisis will allow the strengthening of all mechanisms to combat terrorism, praising Saudi efforts to eradicate this scourge.

Two Qatari bankers involved in the deal told Reuters that the diplomatic crisis was the main reason for the deal being postponed, as it had reduced banks’ appetite for the transaction. The sanctions against Qatar meant non-Qatari banks would not participate, a senior banker in Doha said.

“Originally, the refinancing included some of the original lenders plus big banks from the UAE. Now it is not clear that the deal is going to happen,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is private.

“After the sanctions, the deal became more and more unlikely — politics didn’t improve things.”

Another banker said Qatari banks looked at the refinancing when market interest rates were lower, but they were no longer keen on it now the crisis had tightened liquidity in the local market.
 
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