France was among the countries that took part in maintaining the security of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Qatar and France discussed the enhancement of defence ties on Monday during the visit of French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu to Doha.
Lecornu met with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Gulf state’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
“During the meeting, they discussed aspects of bilateral cooperation and ways to enhance and develop them, especially the joint military cooperation, in addition to a number of issues of mutual interest,” the Amiri Diwan said in a statement.
The French official’s meeting with Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Qatar’s prime minister, saw the two discuss the latest developments in the region, especially in Lebanon and Syria, per a statement by Doha’s foreign ministry.
The talks took place on the same day diplomats from the Quintet Meeting held a second round of talks in Doha to discuss crises-hit Lebanon and its ongoing power vacuum.
The French defence official separately met with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah at the Dukhan Air Base.
“During the meeting, topics of mutual interest for both sides, and ways of strengthening and developing them, were discussed,” Qatar’s defence ministry said in a statement.
The European country is among Qatar’s top military suppliers, with both countries holding a number of defence agreements that cover expertise transfer and joint military training.
France was among a list of countries involved in maintaining security during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where millions of football fans flocked to the country for the major sporting event.
France had agreed in 2021 to send personnel and material to the Gulf state, including a BASSALT anti-drone system that detects and identifies incoming drones. France also sent one of its Air Force’s four E-3F Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), which can track hundreds of targets.
Qatar and France previously inked a deal in 2017 to purchase 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets under a $1.3 billion order. For years, France has been providing Qatar’s navy with electronic support for its warships through French aerospace company, Thales.
The expansion of defence ties comes under Qatar and France’s wider efforts to boost bilateral relations in a number of sectors, including culture and education.
Doha and Paris held the first round of the Qatar-France Strategic Dialogue in March last year, during which both countries celebrated 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties.
The second and most recent Strategic Dialogue took place in Doha last month, in which Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Catherine Colonna represented the French side.
The French diplomat told the press in June 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.