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Qatar, France Sign Plane, transport contracts worth EU12 billion

France and Qatar signed a series of contracts on Thursday as President Emmanuel Macron visits the isolated Gulf country to solidify French business interests and Qatar continues to consolidate its ties with the West.

Dassault Aviation of France sold another 12 Rafale fighter jets; the French national railway company SNCF together with the Paris metro company RATP was awarded a contract to operate the Doha metro; The French state arms company Nexter sold 490 armored vehicles; and Airbus sold 50 narrow-body aircraft.

Macron and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha, December 7.

Photographer: Karim Jaafar / AFP through Getty Images

"These contracts underscore the closeness of our business ties," Macron said during a signing ceremony in Doha. He said that the contracts were valued at around 12 billion euros ($ 14.14 billion).

An embargo headed by Saudi Arabia of Qatar has ignited an increase in national nationalism while Qatar is sinking into a long confrontation. While reinforcing the sentiments at home, Qatar officials have cemented friendship in the West since June with large purchases of US military jets, Italian naval ships and now French planes.

Macron, the highest-ranking Western official visiting Qatar, capitalizes on the parade of leading diplomats from Europe and the USA. UU who came to Doha this year. Few left with empty hands. Turkey and Iran gained market share for food and construction supplies that used to go through Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The US government UU He obtained a new anti-terrorist pact, and the Washington lobbyists were filled with fees from both sides that tried to influence the Trump administration.

Mediation offer

Macron has insisted that France will not take sides in the confrontation Qatar and other Gulf countries, and has offered to mediate.

Thursday's contracts were signed in Doha in the presence of Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani and Macron.

The SNCF contract to run the Doha subway, whose first line opens in about a year, is worth 3 billion euros, said Macron's office. The option to buy 12 more Dassault Rafale aircraft is worth approximately 2 billion euros.

Qatar Airways updated a 5.5 billion euro contract with Airbus to buy 50 neos A321 with Safran engines, and signed a contract to opt for another 30. Qatar also signed a contract letter of intent with Nexter to buy 490 armored vehicles that could be worth approximately 1,500 million euros.

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