26 February 2024

Qatar and France... Strategic Relations, Constant Coordination

  • QNA_France_Qatar_Flags_26_02_2024

Doha, February 26 (QNA) - The State of Qatar and the sisterly French Republic share a constantly evolving rock-solid strategic relationship. The Qatari-French relations are entirely homogenized with convergence of positions and views, persistent coordination by virtue of the political desire of the leaderships of the two nations, shared visits at a variety of levels, as well as keenness to invigorate bilateral relations in a variety of fields for the benefits of the two friendly nations and peoples.

HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will visit Paris Tuesday. The visit comes in commensurate with the joint ambitions and shared interests of the two countries and stemming from the credible desire of the leaderships of the two nations to evolve their bilateral relationship to the level of strategic partnership.

During the visit, HH the Amir is expected to discuss with HE President of the friendly French Republic Emmanuel Macron avenues to reinforce friendship and cooperation between the two countries, broaden the horizons of these ties, open new spheres of prosperity and advancement for the goodness of the two friendly nations and peoples for the sake of security, stability and peace in the region, in addition to discussing latest developments at the regional and global levels and a number of topics of common interest.

The visit constitutes a milestone in the distinguished relationship between them that would lend a fresh impetus and robust momentum to these relations, especially that they share visions and perspectives concerning numerous regional and international files. The visit earns great significance as it comes on the heels of numerous heated developments unfolding in multiple territories of the world that require coordination and consultation at the highest levels between the two countries.

The shared visits between the leaderships of the two nations and the constant consultation towards bilateral relations and global issues will surely support these relations and solidify them further, making them deep-rooted for their interests.

Within the framework of these visits, HH the Amir paid a working visit to Paris in February 2023 and held a bilateral meeting with HE President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace and discussed the friendship ties and cooperation between the two countries and ways to upgrade them in multiple fields. They also discussed a range of topics of common interest, primarily the international relief efforts in Syria and Turkiye in response to the fallout of the devastating earthquake disaster, as well as the latest developments at the regional and international levels.

HE President Emmanuel Macron also paid a working visit to Doha last December.

In embodiment of the political desire of the leaders of the two countries to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a level that serves the interests of the two friendly nations, the second strategic dialogue session between the State of Qatar and the French Republic was held at the Amiri Diwan last June chaired by HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani and HE Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Catherine Colonna.

During the session, they discussed the strategic ties between the two countries, outcomes of the working groups of the strategic dialogue, along with the latest regional and global situation, especially the Palestinian cause, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, and the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

The two sides lauded the major progress made to strengthen their partnership since the first convention of the first strategic dialogue in March 2022 and reiterated their ironclad commitment to reinforcing cooperation and full potential of their relationship in all fields, chiefly the outcomes of the dialogue. They also welcomed the signing of the letter of intent for cooperation in international development between the two countries on May 26, 2022, under the umbrella of the strategic dialogue during the visit of HE Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater to Paris to chair the dialogue-affiliated Development Working Group. 

The State of Qatar shares a variety of agreements with France in economic, political, cultural, scientific, academic, and technological fields, as well as military agreements. The economic ties between the two nations are rock-solid at the trade and financial levels, as French trade and economic delegates regularly visit Doha to meet their counterparts from the public and private sectors and discuss trade, economic and industrial cooperation, as well as the available investment opportunities.

The State of Qatar has been a strategic partner for the French Republic since long time ago. The Qatari investments in France and the French investments in Qatar underpin the economic partnership and are considered the critical linchpins of the two countries’ economies, since France reached advanced stages on the list of trade partners with Qatar.

The Qatari investments in France focus on the sectors of real estate, retail, transport, funding, sport, and consumer discretionary with the value of $30 billion, of which special investments that reach up to $10 billion.

On the other hand, France operates many investments in Qatar in oil and gas and infrastructure and exchange in the fields of economy, trade, and aviation, as well as military and security fields.

HE Chairman of Qatar Chamber (QC) Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Thani underscored the depth of distinguished trade ties between the two countries, pointing out that in two and half times, the trade exchange between them doubled during the last years, reaching QR16.5 billion in 2022, compared to QR4.9 billion in 2017. HE the Chairman of QC made this announcement during his participation in the "Vision Golfe" forum between GCC and France, held in Paris last June.

Moreover, QC also participated in the Arab French Economic Summit, held in Paris under the theme "A partnership that must be forged in a world in crisis". The summit addressed an array of topics that focused on the environment, water, industry, food, medicine, and urbanization.

The number of French firms operating in Qatar reaches 418, including 120 firms with 100% French ownership, 290 firms in partnership with Qatar, 8 firms licensed by Qatar Financial Centre and 3 offices representing the French Republic. There are also long-term ventures between QatarEnergy and French TotalEnergies, as well as other numerous ventures such as water desalination.

QatarEnergy and French TotalEnergies signed an agreement for the North Field East expansion of the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, marking the conclusion of a competitive step that started in 2019 to co-opt for QatarEnergy international partners in the expansion project which will elevate Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 million tones annually to 110 million tons annually.

Cooperation in security and defense represents a core pillar of the Qatari-French bilateral relationship, as numerous French-made Rafale aircraft were purchased, reinforcing their relationship, with military exercises being regularly organized between the two sides.

Additionally, the two countries share solid ties at the education level, with some French major institutes and schools opening branches in the State of Qatar with a roughly 200,000 French-speaking institutions.

Qatar has remained an associate member of the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) since 2012 and dispatches many Qatari people to study at the major French universities and institutes. The HEC Paris in Qatar celebrated its 10th anniversary and has graduated over 720 students since 2010.

France is one of the member countries that founded the European Union, with the largest area among EU states, the second economic power with the second largest market in Europe with 65 million people. It is the primary tourist destination in the world with over 80 million tourists annually, and ranked seven on the list of global economies, after the United States of America, China and Japan, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom, according to IMF figures. (QNA)


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