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FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a meeting on migration in Rome, Italy July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi


PARIS (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on July 15-16 as part of efforts to ease tension between those countries regarding Qatar, his office said in a statement.

"Concerned by current tensions that are affecting these countries with whom we have close and friendly ties, we call for a rapid de-escalation that would be in everyone's interest," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran - charges which Doha denies.

The French foreign ministry's statement added that the trip was in line with similar strategies being adopted by the United States, Britain and Germany regarding the Gulf, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also conducting a visit to the region this week.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Ingrid Melander)