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France Close to Qatar Military, Transport Contracts

France Close to Qatar Military, Transport ContractsFrance Close to Qatar Military, Transport Contracts

France is close to finalizing major military and transport contracts during a visit by Emmanuel Macron to Qatar on Thursday, a French presidential source said.

Qatar has an option to buy 12 more Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets after buying 24 planes in 2015 for about 6 billion euros ($7.11 billion) and officials have said that the deal could be concluded this week, Reuters reported.

The two sides are also in talks for sale of 300 VBCI armored vehicles from French firm Nexter and a contract worth some 3 billion euros to manage the Doha metro for 20 years.

“Discussions are ongoing,” a French presidential source told reporters on Monday ahead of the visit. “You spoke about several dossiers for which the point of maturity is close, but I prefer to remain a little bit prudent and wait until Thursday.”

Paris has close commercial and political ties with Qatar and has pushed further business interests in the country as well as encouraging investment into France, where the gas-rich Persian Gulf state already has assets of about $10 billion.

It has also sought to play a role as a go-between in a row, which began in early June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut political and trade ties with Qatar.

Since then Qatar has sought to strengthen its military, including signing military equipment deals with the United States, Russia and Britain.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will attend a key summit of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council in Kuwait this week, according to Qatar’s foreign minister.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Sunday that Qatar’s leader had accepted the invitation to attend the two-day event held in Kuwait City starting on Tuesday.

“It is important that the (P)GCC system remains alive”, news agencies quoted Sheikh Mohammed as saying at a forum in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Last week, Kuwait sent out invitations to all six (P)GCC member states, but it was not clear whether all other leaders would attend.

The (P)GCC is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

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