Qatar, France ink cooperation deals despite ongoing Gulf crisis

Lester Mason
December 7, 2017

Macron's visit comes just after a planned two-day Gulf Cooperation Council meeting collapsed in just a few hours over the ongoing Qatar diplomatic crisis.

The signed contracts cover defense, armaments, the operation and maintenance of metros and tramways, and soil pollution treatment.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in Doha on Thursday, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani held a joint press conference following their meeting, and announced the signing of agreements and deals worth 12 billion euros (14.14 billion USA dollars), including the purchase of 12 French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jets.

"We have also signed a number of commercial contracts which reflect the density of our economic ties, underline the closeness of our commercial ties", Macron added.

Qatar also said it would buy 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets.

Macron smiled and shook hands with the French and American soldiers who greeted him at the base before walking into a meeting with the base's top commanders.

Al-Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the region, plays a key role in America's fight against the Islamic State group and it is from where the air campaign against jihadists has been directed.

"We must avoid violence at all costs and prioritise dialogue", he said. "That is why I repeated to dear Tamim that France supports Kuwait's mediation effort", he added.

The anti-Qatar alliance has demanded that Doha downgrade ties with Iran, a regional rival of Saudi Arabia.

"The dignity and the sovereignty of Qatar are above everything".

The row is one of the most serious experienced by the GCC since it was created in 1981.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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