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The Latest: France urges Qatar's neighbors to ease blockade


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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in Qatar (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

France's Foreign Minister has urged Qatar and its Arab neighbors to find an end to their diplomatic standoff and to immediately lift measures that have impacted thousands of people in the Gulf.

Jean-Yves Le Drian is the latest diplomat to visit the Gulf to try and help find a solution to the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which cut ties with the small Gulf nation in early June.

Le Drian spoke to reporters Saturday in Qatar alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who said he welcomed mediation efforts and possible negotiations built on respect of "sovereignty."

The Arab quartet have expelled Qatari nationals and imposed a blockade, impacting mixed-nationality families in the Gulf, students and people seeking medical treatment abroad, among others.

___

1:45 p.m.

A top Emirati diplomat has cautioned that a diplomatic standoff between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors could be prolonged.

The United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Foreign Relations Anwar al-Gargash said the countries "are heading toward a long estrangement" and that crisis is "far from a political solution." He published his comments on Twitter Friday.

The dispute between Qatar, on one side, and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the other erupted more than a month ago. Earlier in the week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in the Gulf, meeting separately with officials in the region to try and find a resolution to the impasse.

The Arab quartet accuse Qatar of disrupting regional security by supporting Islamist opposition groups and extremists. Qatar denies the allegations.

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