Announcing the Conference « In the middle, bridges and solutions with the Middle East », Agnès Von der Mühll, Spokesperson to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, answers to Opinion Internationale on the crisis of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Opinion internationale : in the Middle East, the Syrian conflict is bogged down – it was thought that the fall of Daesh would put an end to the conflict, the rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran are exacerbated, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be summarized into unilateral initiatives and the Gulf Cooperation Council is inhibited by the blockade of Qatar. Is it really time for bridges and solutions?
Agnès Von der Mühll: More than ever, precisely because there are conflicts and tensions in the area, and France has a singular responsibility, firstly because of its status as a permanent member of the Security Council, but also because it has an interest in the region, particularly for security. In addition, France has long-standing partners and friends in the region who rely on it, particularly Lebanon which bears the full brunt of the tension and war that is going on in its Syrian neighbour.
The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, recently visited Tehran, precisely because Iran is a regional player with whom we share some concerns, but with which we also have some points of disagreement, particularly acting on its regional action which is in some respects destabilizing. The continuation of its ballistic program is not in compliance with resolution 2231 (of the United Nations).
We are also committed to the full implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement, which is a point of convergence between our countries. The issue at stake is the credibility of the Security Council to ensure effective compliance with its resolutions. France is particularly vigilant on this issue as it is on the Syrian file and the resolution 2401, adopted unanimously, and who must be respected by all parties.
Opinion internationale : When the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, was held against his will in Saudi Arabia, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, intervened directly, playing the role of facilitator to untangle the situation. Could it be the same in the conflict shaking the Gulf Cooperation Council between Qatar on one side and Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and their occasional allies on the other, especially since France and these countries share common interests?
France can play a role in urging the Parties to engage in dialogue. Because it is through him, and he alone, that this type of difficulties will be overcome. I do not betray a secret by saying that we have discreetly intervened with the protagonists to invite them to dialogue.
Opinion internationale : Donald Trump is said to have the intention of willing to hold a summit between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council in mid-April to resolve this dispute. Can France be more active already being in touch with all parties?
France welcomes all the initiatives that go in the direction of diminishing tensions. The United States plays a positive role in this regard. We also reiterate our support for the actions of Kuwait, which plays a direct and constant role as mediator in the conflict. All these initiatives reflect the desire to overcome differences in order to resolve this crisis. All these efforts are therefore welcome, and France is also taking its part. In this respect, we send messages of appeasement and dialogue during the contacts we have with these countries, because we talk to everyone.
A Michel Taube interview