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France

Macron urges lifting Qatar embargo

media rench President Emmanuel Macron (R) greets Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the Elysee Place in Paris, France, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged the lifting of a Saudi-led embargo on Qatar in effect since June.

Macron is calling for "the embargo measures affecting the people of Qatar, in particular families and students, to be lifted as quickly as possible," the president's office said in a statement after he met with Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Macron "expressed his concern over the tensions that threaten regional stability, undermining the political resolution of crises and our collective fight against terrorism," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting extremism -- charges the emirate has denied.

Riyadh and its supporters severed air and sea links with Qatar and closed its only land border, cutting off vital routes for imports including food.

The Qatari emir met earlier on Friday in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the crisis would be resolved only through quiet diplomacy.

"We spoke about the need for all the parties to sit at one table again as soon as possible," she said at a joint news conference with Al-Thani.

Both Paris and Berlin back diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait, a key mediator in the crisis along with the United States.

In an interview with the news magazine Le Point last week, Macron said both Qatar and Saudi Arabia had financed "groups that are not the same ones, but which have de facto contributed to terrorism."

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