During the latest meeting in Doha, the two countries greed to join efforts in reaching “goals that serve regional stability and global security”.
Qatar renewed its stance against normalising with Syria on Thursday, stressing its position is not against the country or people, but with the Bashar Al Assad regime.
The comments were made by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during a joint press conference in Doha alongside Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Catherine Colonna.
“We do not have any stance against Syria, Syria is a sisterly country, an Arab country and the people of Syria are one of us. We do not have an issue with Syria, we have an issue with a regime that has been ruling Syria for more than 10 years that bombs its displaced people,” Sheikh Mohammed told the press at the Amiri Diwan.
The press conference was held following the second round of the Qatar-France Strategic Dialogue in Doha, where the two countries discussed bilateral ties as well as international and regional developments, more specifically Syria, Lebanon and Ukraine.
The meeting comes just weeks after Syria was reinstated into the Arab League after more than a decade of isolation.
Responding to a question on the matter, Colonna said France “does not quite understand reinstating Syria to the Arab League without commitments”.
“All conditions placed for Syria were not met,” she said.
Assad attended the Arab League’s most recent summit, which took place in Saudi Arabia on 19 May. Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani left the summit prior to Assad’s speech.
The Gulf state has maintained its stance against normalising with the Assad regime despite the regional shift in positions regarding Syria.
Meanwhile, France and Qatar have continued to cooperate amid increased international efforts to find a solution for Lebanon, which has for years experienced a long period of economic turmoil as well as a crippling power vacuum.
Responding to a question on the matter, the Qatari official and Colonna expressed their support for a solution to Lebanon’s impasse.
Sheikh Mohammed renewed Qatar’s “constant support” for Lebanon’s stability and expressed his hope for the election of a Lebanese president.
“The solution is in the hands of the Lebanese and not any other country,” he said.
Lebanon has been unable to elect a president to replace former President Michel Aoun since he withdrew from office in October last year.
According to Sheikh Mohammed, Doha and Paris also agreed to join efforts in reaching “goals that serve regional stability and global security”.
The first round of the Qatar-France Strategic Dialogue took place in March last year, during which both countries celebrated 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties.
The previous dialogue came a year after Qatar and France carried out a joint humanitarian operation that included dispatching 40 tonnes of medical and food supplies to Afghanistan in light of the Taliban takeover.
The French official thanked Qatar for its evacuation of at least 110 French nationals and their dependents at the time.
“I salute the repeated diplomatic successes of the State of Qatar, which provides solutions for the safe living of peoples,” she said.
The French diplomat added that Qatar “has always been a strategic partner of France” and said Paris is keen on enhancing cooperation in the field of defence, culture and sports.
Last month, France awarded Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater with the Legion of Honor with the rank of “Knight”, the highest French order of merit.
“We were very happy to receive her excellency Lolwah Al Khater and we were happy to give her the medal of honour,” Colonna said.
The award followed a series of “fruitful” meetings in France with officials, parliamentarians and academics.
Both countries signed a letter of intent on cooperation and partnership in international development, under which Doha and France will further coordinate in humanitarian assistance.