Qatar, France Sign $12 billion Rafales, Airbus Deal

France and Qatar signed a slew of contracts worth €12 billion as President Emmanuel Macron visited the isolated Gulf country this week.

Under the deal, Doha will acquire 12 Rafales fighter jets and 50 Airbus planes.

“These contracts underline the closeness of our commercial ties,” Macron said during the signing ceremony in Doha Thursday. He said the contracts were valued at about €12 billion ($14.1 billion).

Qatar’s ability to sign such large-scale defense and air transport agreements shows that the country is far from being internationally isolated and is actually demonstrating resilience in the face of the land, sea and air embargo imposed by its Gulf neighbors.

However, Macron insisted that France will not take sides in the standoff between Qatar and the Saudi-led alliance, reiterating his support for mediation efforts led by Kuwait. “It is our priority to see a rapid solution,” Macron said.

Paris has close commercial and political ties with Qatar and has pushed deeper business interests in the country as well as encouraged Qatari investment in France, where the gas-rich Gulf State already has assets of about $10 billion.

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