Amir’s visit to boost solid Qatar-France ties

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The visit of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the French Republic will further strengthen the solid and strategic relations between the two countries. Both countries share common vision on several issues which has made France a strategic partner of Qatar.

Qatar cherishes the distinguished relations with the French Republic which were established more than 40 years ago.

The solid bilateral relations have resulted into signing of several agreements and high-level visits in the past, which have opened up broad prospects for strengthening the relations and bilateral cooperation.

French investments and companies in Qatar have great presence, especially that Qatar has created a conducive environment for foreign investments through developing legislations, establishing free zones and issuing the laws on foreigners’ property ownership and permanent residence. Qatar and France are working together to root out terrorism and resolve the crises in this region.

Defence relations between the two allies have witnessed consistent growth. Qatar had signed an agreement with France in 2015 to supply the Amiri Air Force with 24 Rafale aircraft, and later activated the item by increasing the number of aircraft by 12 more. The Qatari Amiri Air Force received the first French Fighter Aircraft ‘Rafale’ this year in February.

The previous visit of H H the Amir to France was in July last year which was very successful in boosting ties between the two countries.

The closeness of relations between Qatar and France can be understood by the remarks of French President Emmanuel Macron given during the joint press conference. French President had described the French-Qatari relations as solid and strategic, adding that Qatar is a reliable partner and a friendly country with an ambition and a vision for the future, which brings the two countries closer to each other.

During the official visit of  H H the Amir, Qatar and France had signed a number of agreements. An agreement was signed between Qatar Free Zone Authority and Thales Group in order for the latter to open a branch in Doha. The two sides also signed an agreement on mutual recognition of driving licenses between the governments of the two countries with the aim of promoting joint cooperation between the citizens of the two countries.

Another agreement was signed between the Qatar University and the University of Southern Brittany in order to develop the scientific cooperation between the two universities to benefit from the common capabilities, especially in the field of cybersecurity.

Also a Letter of Intent was signed between the Ministry of Municipality and Environment in Qatar and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the French Republic aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

Another big development in the bilateral relations was the visit of Prime Minister of the French Republic, Edouard Philippe to Qatar in March this year. During the visit, Prime Minister and Interior Minister 
H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and Prime Minister of the French Republic held official talks-session and witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding between both governments.

The two sides witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between the Ministry of the Interior in the French Republic and the security committee for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

An administrative arrangement annexe for cooperation between the French Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecution in Qatar on promoting cooperation in the field of fighting cyber crimes was also signed.

The two sides also witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between Qatar Museums and the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs on moving the French Institute in Qatar to Bait Al Zaman. A letter of intent between Qatar Museums and Palais de Tokyo in Paris and a cooperation agreement between Imagine institute for genetic diseases and Hamad bin Khalifa University was also signed.

State of Qatar and the French Republic share a common vision that it is impossible to have stability in the Middle East or the world unless there is a just and comprehensive solution to the issue through the implementing international legitimacy resolutions, complying with the concept of a two-state solution which was agreed to by the international community, the Arab Peace Initiative and establishing the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Business ties have also strengthened between the two countries. The robust business ties are reflected in the strong growth in volume of bilateral trade. The volume of trade between the two friendly countries has grown from around QR9.14bn in 2016 to over QR14bn in 2018. 

Qatari investments in France include several sectors such as energy, real estate, hotels, financial services, transport, communications and sports.

 

France also remains one of the leading destinations for Qatari foreign investment, as Qatar’s investments in France were estimated to be around €30bn in 2018. There are a large number of French companies investing in the Qatari market. The number of French companies setting up business in Qatar is rising and the existing ones are expanding their operations here. Some 200 French companies are working alongside public and private stakeholders such as the QFC on key projects in oil and gas, electricity and water, transport, urban development and other fields.

Each year, delegations of businessmen from both countries meet to explore potential bilateral investment opportunities.

One of the major factors behind the growth in bilateral relations are the events organised to encourage private sector of both countries. One such important event is Qatar-France Business and Investment Forum which was organised last year.
Cultural ties between the two countries are also flourishing. A plethora of concerts and dance shows featuring talented French artistes have also been organised in Qatar in the past years, the most recent of which was the unique show by the musical quintet called Cinq de Coeur who entertained the audience with their humor and vocal skills.
Just last year, acclaimed all-female hip hop dance company Swaggers mesmerized Doha with their uniquely crafted artistic dance show at Katara Drama Theatre.
In 2017, another French hip hop group of international renown, Pockemon Crew heated up the Katara Drama Theatre stage showcasing their originality blending cinema and dance in a spectacular show.
French musicians have also featured in the annual Katara European Jazz Festival which in the past five years has celebrated jazz music through a series of concerts representing the various European embassies in Qatar. Cultural ties between Qatar and France are expected to get a further boost with a slew of events and activities to be organised in both countries in line with the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture.
The upcoming 2020 Year of Culture initiative of Qatar Museums to promote mutual understanding, recognition and appreciation between both sovereign nations reaffirms the deep bond that exists between Qatar and France.

Source: www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

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