Qatar’s emir and French President Emmanuel Macron signed 12 billion euros during French President’s visit to Doha, which includes the purchase of 12 French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jets with the option of buying 36 more.
Macron is traveling with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who in 2015 as defense minister helped negotiate a deal with Qatar to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets. As part of a deal negotiated two years ago, Qatar exercised its right to purchase 12 aircraft.
Qatar would also be buying 490 VBCI armoured vehicles from French firm Nexter, and signed a transportation deal with France’s national rail authority to manage and maintain Doha’s planned metro, as well as a light rail system north of Doha.
Qatari emir who held a joint press met with Macron expressed disappointment over blockade imposed by four Arab states.
“For us, our dignity and the sovereignty of Qatar are above everything. If our brothers want to resolve this crisis then we are ready on a basis that is clear and feasible to everyone and without the interference of anyone’s sovereignty,” he said.
Macron also visited al-Udeid air base, The air base is home to some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command.
France also has a contingent of several hundred French troops in Qatar as part of the 1,200 French forces active in the region in the battle against the IS group.
Speaking to coalition soldiers, he said the next few months of battle will determine the outcome of the war against the IS group in Iraq in Syria.
“This military win does not signify the end of the operations and the end of our battle because first we need to stabilize and win peace in Iraq and Syria,” he told troops. “Next spring is decisive in the situation in Iraq.”
Macron also stressed in his remarks at the air base that France wants to avoid partition in Syria and “avoid the domination of certain international elements whose interests contradict peace.”
He also noted the importance of maintaining the Iranian nuclear accord in which France played a key role along with other world powers. He also called for an internationally defined framework to contain Iran’s regional ambitions and “ways to put limits” on Iran’s presence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.