When the French president arrives in Qatar on December 7 his mind will be on closing deals. Emmanuel Macron will reportedly aim to finalise major military and transport contracts.
For instance, the gas-rich gulf state has an option to buy 12 more Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets after buying 24 planes in two years ago for about €6bn and officials have said that the deal could be concluded this week.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the two countries are also in talks for the sale of 300 VBCI armoured vehicles from French firm Nexter and a contract worth some €3bn to manage the Doha metro for 20 years.
“Discussions are ongoing,” a French presidential source told reporters on December 4 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 encourage investment into France. Qatar already has assets of about $10bn in France.
According to Reuters, France 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.