Vastavam web: Qatar announced today a deal to buy 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets, as it faces a boycott by neighbouring Gulf states in the region’s worst political crisis in years.The 1.1-billion-euro (USD 1.3-billion) order, announced during an official visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, allows for an option to buy a further 36 jets.The two countries also signed a three-billion-euro (USD 3.5 billion) deal on the operation and maintenance of the Doha Metro, currently being built as the country prepares for the football World Cup in 2022.
The lucrative contracts were inked in the presence of Macron and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.Qatar also signed a letter of intent to buy 490 VBCI armoured vehicles from Nexter, a French government-owned weapons manufacturer, in a potential deal worth 1.5 billion euros (USD 1.7 billion), the Elysee said.The four countries also cut off all air and sea links to Qatar and closed the only land terminal for the tiny peninsula.
Qatar denies the allegations and has accused the Saudi- led bloc of aiming to incite regime change in Doha.Speaking about the crisis at a later joint press conference with Macron, Sheikh Tamim reiterated Qatar’s calls for a negotiated settlement.”Qatar’s sovereignty is above all considerations. We want to resolve the rift but not at the expense of our sovereignty and dignity,” he said.The French president urged a diplomatic solution through regional mediator Kuwait.
“I reiterated to the emir France’s support for Kuwait’s mediation efforts and my wish for a quick solution,” Macron told reporters.A Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait this week ended a day early after the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain failed to attend.