Qatar, France Deplore Killing And Starvation Of Gazans Pledge $200Mn To Support Palestine


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA

Paris: The State of Qatar and the French Republic reaffirmed, in a joint communique issued on the occasion of the state visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the French Republic on February 27 and 28, the depth and breadth of their strategic partnership, and their rejection of the killing and starvation suffered by the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In the joint communique, the two countries stressed their opposition to an offensive on Rafah. They called for the opening of all crossings, including in the North of the Gaza Strip to allow for humanitarian actors to resume their activities and notably the delivery of food supply and jointly pledged 200 million dollars effort in support of the Palestinian population.

The Communique reads as follows:

At the invitation of HE the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, HH the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani conducted a state visit to France on 27 and 28 February 2024.

The Amir of Qatar and President of the French Republic praised the depth and breadth of the strategic partnership between their two countries, an alliance anchored in a relationship of trust and longstanding bilateral cooperation. They welcomed the forthcoming Third France-Qatar Strategic Dialogue to be held in Paris.

. International issues:

Gaza:

The Amir of Qatar and President of the French Republic expressed their deepest concern at the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The President of the French Republic expressed his deep appreciation for Qatar's mediation efforts, to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7 2023. These efforts led to a first humanitarian pause and the release of 105 hostages, the increase in emergency humanitarian assistance into Gaza and simultaneously reduced regional tensions.

Both leaders expressed the necessity for the ongoing mediation efforts to succeed in delivering a truce and the release of hostages, including three French citizens. They praised the recent joint Qatar-France effort in brokering an agreement to bring vital medicines and other humanitarian aid into Gaza for the affected civilian population and for medicine to the remaining hostages.

The leaders stressed the urgent need for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, in order to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza on a massive scale and to ensure protection for civilians. They stressed their opposition to an offensive on Rafah. They called for the opening of all crossings, including in the North of the Gaza Strip to allow for humanitarian actors to resume their activities and notably the delivery of food supply and pledged jointly 200 Million dollars effort in support of the Palestinian population. The Amir of Qatar expressed his deep appreciation for Qatar's and France's continuing and coordinated efforts with regional partners to increase the emergency humanitarian assistance into Gaza and to reduce regional tensions. They reiterated the constant engagement at the highest levels of their respective governments over the last months in that regard, notably through joint humanitarian operations such as collective airdrops and freight delivery conducted on February 26th and 27th. Both leaders condemned all forms of targeting of civilians. The leaders recalled the necessity to protect journalists working in conflict zones.

They recalled their commitment to advancing decisively an inclusive negotiated political process that achieves a comprehensive, permanent, and just peace and recalled that the only viable solution is the two-state solution, including the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines aiming at Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security. They reiterated the need for security guarantees for both States in the future, through initiatives aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence. Qatar and France strongly support the historic status quo on the holy sites of Jerusalem.

. Regional situation:

The two leaders expressed deep concern at the risk of regional escalation in the wake of the 7 October attacks and the conflict in Gaza. Both sides expressed concern at policies that contribute to de-stabilization in the region and beyond. The leaders also reviewed policies addressing vital maritime routes and security.

The leaders expressed their deep concern over threats on maritime security and navigational freedom in the Red sea, highlighting the importance of addressing these issues in line with UNSCR 2722 (2024) in order to prevent regional tensions and ensure maritime security. They emphasized the need for a cessation of attacks which impede global commerce and undermine navigational rights and freedoms in the Red Sea.

Lebanon:

Both leaders reaffirmed their dedication to addressing the political and economic challenges afflicting Lebanon, where the population is continuously suffering. They emphasized the critical need for the election of a Lebanese President and to continue the coordination on this matter. Both leaders reminded the need to swiftly form a fully empowered government and implement the reforms needed to put an end to the crisis. They commended the aid and support granted by both France and Qatar to the Lebanese population and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

They highlighted the risk of regional tensions, and underscored the necessity for all involved actors to show restraint. Both leaders asserted their commitment to sovereignty and stability of Lebanon, and to contributing to de-escalation through full respect of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. They also stressed their readiness to further support the Lebanese Armed Forces in this context, including through an international conference to be held in Paris. Finally, they reiterated their full support to UNIFIL and the need to preserve its freedom of movement and ability to exercise its mandate.

Ukraine:

Both leaders expressed their firm condemnation of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, in violation of international law and the UN Charter. They expressed their deep concern about the dire human rights and humanitarian consequences of the war and their willingness to work together to mitigate these consequences. They also deplored the global impact of the war, especially on food security, energy, nuclear security and safety and the environment.

They underscored Ukraine's inherent right to self-defence and their support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity. They expressed their support to a just and lasting peace, in line with international law and the UN Charter as put forth in President Zelensky's Peace Formula. They underlined the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed on the territory of Ukraine.

France commended the State of Qatar for its role in mediating between Russia and Ukraine to reunify Ukrainian children abducted from their families. These efforts are continuing and have culminated in the reunification of 24 Ukrainian children with their families in Ukraine to date.

. Global issues:

The Amir of Qatar and the President of the French Republic recalled their joint commitment to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as objectives of the Paris agreement on climate and the Montreal-Kunming Global Framework on biodiversity, and to align their nation's policies on these objectives and frameworks. They stand ready to commit to new efforts towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular for children, together with the international community gathered in Paris for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and in the perspective of the United Nations Secretary General's Summit for the Future next September.

Following France's participation to the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha in March 2023 and Qatar's participation to the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris in June 2023, the two Heads of State shared their support for a strong reform of the international financial architecture along the lines of the Paris Pact for the People and Planet to mobilize all sources of financing, including official development assistance, national resources and private investment to make sure that all countries have sufficient resources to never have to choose between fighting poverty and protecting the planet.

In that spirit, they underlined the progress achieved through the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund network and their will to support this initiative into more concrete action towards greening the financial system.

On the protection of the environment, they stated their intention to cooperate closely on the preparation of the next United Nations Ocean Conference, to be co-hosted by France and Costa Rica, in France, in June 2025, inter alia to support a blue carbon economy and the fight against illicit fishing.

On global health, they shared a common view that training of human resources throughout all continents is an essential component of the preparation against the next pandemics, a priority which has led to the creation of the World Health Organization Academy in Lyon.

On new technologies, they welcomed the fact that Qatar joined the group of friends of the World Health Organization Academy and will continue to support the strengthening of capacities and training in the health sector, especially in least developed countries.

Qatar and France expressed their commitment to support access to a safe artificial intelligence so that their economies and their citizens, as well as those of their partners around the world, can enjoy the benefits of innovation while preserving their rights. In that perspective, their shared their intention to work closely towards the next Summit on Artificial Intelligence, to be hosted by France, with a view to agree by then on a new international governance of artificial intelligence.

They underlined their common attachment to Francophonie of which Qatar is an associated member and reiterated their commitment to supporting French speaking education and linguistic pluralism.

The two Heads of State stated their determination to align their nations policies within these objectives and frameworks.

Trade, Investment and Economy:

HH the Amir of the State of Qatar and HE the President of the French Republic emphasized the importance of the expanding economic, trade and investment partnership contributing to supporting job creation, and innovation as well as fostering knowledge exchange between both countries. They welcomed the joint effort to increase investment flows between the two countries. Qatar and France highlighted the positive increase in bilateral trade 2022-23 to over EUR 6.4 billion.

Consistent with Qatar National Vision 2030 and Plan France 2030, HH the Amir of the State of Qatar and the President of the French Republic concluded a strategic partnership on investment. They highlighted Qatar's willingness to investing up to 10 billion in France, to the mutual benefit of both countries, across key sectors such as energy transition, semiconductor, aerospace, artificial intelligence, digital, healthcare, as well as cultural and creative industries.

Energy Cooperation:

Qatar's ongoing commitment to ensure continued and reliable supplies of energy to Europe, including France and thus contributing to the country's energy security, was welcomed by the French President. The recent 27-year long-term LNG sale and purchase agreements between QatarEnergy and TotalEnergies was welcomed in this respect.

Qatar has been supplying France with LNG since 2009, and recent agreements reflect the joint effort of two trusted partners, to provide reliable and credible LNG supply. Such efforts also reflect a joint commitment by both countries to lower carbon energy transition and solutions.

Defence Cooperation:

Qatar and France reaffirmed the importance of the security and defence cooperation, notably between both nations' air forces, facilitated by the common possession of Rafale combat aircrafts vital in addressing common threats. They also expressed their common will to cooperate in order to reinforce and modernize Qatari military capabilities, particularly in the field of infantry combat and interoperability of the two armies through the acquisition of infantry combat vehicules VBCI. They welcomed the signing of the terms of reference between the Ministry of Defence of the State of Qatar, Barzan Holdings and the French procurement agency of a very promising framework for defense industrial capabilities and innovation.

The Amir of the State of Qatar and the President of the French Republic welcomed the outcomes of bilateral cooperation on combating terrorism and violent extremism and the agreement signed during the visit in this regard. They addressed the importance of action in the fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering, including the framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The State of Qatar was praised for the close cooperation it maintains with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) on a bilateral and multilateral level to promote regional and international peace and security.

Security cooperation:

Building on the legacy and commending the strength of their security cooperation during the Qatar-hosted 2022 FIFA World Cup, France welcomed Qatar's offer of support for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

They praised the signing of a 2024-2027 action plan by the two Interior Ministers, opening up new areas of cooperation including judicial police, fighting document fraud and cybercrime, and civil security.

The Gendarmerie Nationale and the Lekhwiya also signed a declaration of intent to strengthen their already close cooperation.

Humanitarian and Development Cooperation:

The two Heads of State also welcomed the signing of two major agreements in the field of development, between the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and Qatar Fund For Development with a 50 million USD co-funding, and Education Above All (EAA) and Silatech with a 70 million USD co-funding and commended the renewal of their bilateral cooperation in this area. Both leaders agreed that programs in the fields of health and education would be prioritized, building on the example of the work carried out by EAA to the benefit of schoolgirls in Afghanistan.

On humanitarian aid efforts to support the civilian population of Gaza, the Amir of Qatar and the President of the French Republic committed to continuing cooperation. They praised the recent medical cooperation by which the amphibian helicopter carrier Dixmude of the French navy hospitalized a total of 124 wounded persons, of which 54 were subsequently transferred to Qatar for the follow-up of their treatment, as well as the joint operation conducted on February 26th to deliver ambulances, tents and humanitarian supply to the Gaza. They agreed on the urgent and important need to significantly increase access and flow of humanitarian aid into all of the Gaza Strip, and to continue further joint action on the provision of emergency assistance such as ambulances, shelter, and food.

The two Heads of State welcomed the signing of a cooperation agreement on humanitarian aid between the two ministers of Foreign affairs. This agreement will allow and encourage both countries to deploy joint and coordinated relief operations where and when needed, such as the joint support provided to the Mother and Child hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Culture Cooperation, Education and Sport:

In a mark of their attachment to cooperation in the field of culture, the Amir of Qatar and the President of the French Republic welcomed the upcoming partnership between French flagship institutions and Qatar Museums as promising a wealth of new prospects for artistic and cultural exchanges highlighting a shared desire to continue forging strong cultural ties.

The Amir of Qatar looked forward to further cooperation with the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in its mission to promote intercultural dialogue between the Arabic and the French cultures, including through the teaching of the Arabic language in France.

Qatar and France committed to support increased students mobility in between the two countries and praised in this regard the "France Days in Doha" on 3 and 4 March, aimed at promoting partnerships between French higher education institutions and Qatar. The coming study tour in France, in May, of 32 young Qatari leaders whom have been selected and trained by the Qatar Leadership Center, illustrates the promising cooperation in this field.

In the field of education and research, the Amir of Qatar and the President of the French Republic welcomed the signing of agreements between several partner institutions in France and Qatar, namely the Assembly of directors of university technological institutes (ADIUT) and the University of Doha for Science and Technology, Sciences Po, HEC and Qatar University as pillars of our academic cooperation.

The two Parties agreed to continue supporting the development of the two schools, Lycee Bonaparte and Lycee Voltaire, in Qatar and the creation of new education projects in the interests of both countries. They committed to upholding programs and initiatives aimed at introducing French into the Qatari state schooling system.

Qatar and France are two sporting nations that aspire to develop the sporting activities of their citizens, and have solid expertise in the organization of major international sporting events. French and Qatari sports stakeholders therefore have common interests to share in terms of sport, and numerous opportunities for cooperation. The Amir of Qatar and the President of the French Republic welcomed that this cooperation between their two countries will be strengthened, in particular to contribute to the development and promotion of soccer.

In forging their dynamic partnership, the State of Qatar and the French Republic remain committed to ever-deepening dialogue and long-term cooperation.

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