(MENAFN - Gulf Times) *A number of agreements to be signed in several fields during the visit
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will pay an official visit to the friendly French Republic Thursday.
During the visit, the Amir will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on prospects of enhancing the close bilateral co-operation between Qatar and France, and several regional and international issues.
The Amir will also meet with a number of senior French officials.
A number of agreements will be signed in several fields during the visit. The Amir will be accompanied by an official delegation.
The visit of His Highness the Amir to France comes at a crucial time. It is the second visit of the Amir in less than a year, underscoring the importance of bilateral relations that promotes their common interests.
Also, the visit underscores Qatar's outstanding role in the international arena, as well as its standing and position among the world's leading decision-making capitals. The visit will be particularly important given the topics that will be discussed by the Amir and the French President. The summit is set to address the deep-rooted ties of friendship and strategic relations between Doha and Paris and the importance of supporting them in various fields for the benefit of the two countries. They will also exchange views on the latest regional and international developments.
Bilateral relations between Qatar and France are witnessing a qualitative leap. The Amir and the French President have built upon the already deep and distinguished relations in various sectors. Ties can also be characterised as open, credible as well as strategic. The Amir's visit to France on September 14, 2017 was a particular boost to ties, given it was his first foreign tour since the blockade imposed on Qatar on June 5 of the same year. The visit conveyed the appreciation of Qatar to the position of France and the countries that supported Qatar in the face of the blockade.
Ties between the two friendly countries have been growing since the early '90s in the fields of security and economy. Qatar's desire to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on gas revenues has led to the expansion of cooperation with France in various fields and contributed to the signing of agreements and contracts in the fields of economy and education. The visit of the French President to Doha on December 7 , 2017 helped consolidate the existing partnership between Qatar and France.
The economic relations between Qatar and France are strong as France is one of the preferred destinations for Qatari investors. The value of Qatari investments in France is estimated at $30bn, including private investments amounting to $10bn.
France is the seventh-largest economic partner of Qatar. Doha is one of France's leading trading partners in the Gulf region and a destination for French companies wanting to invest in the region. There are more than 200 French companies investing in different sectors of the Qatari market. French companies continue their work in World Cup infrastructure-related projects. The two countries signed contracts worth 16bn Euros in the fields of defence, transport, aircraft and pollution control during the visit of the French President to Doha in December 2017.
The co-operation between France and Qatar in security and defence is the cornerstone of their bilateral ties. The French President announced during his visit to Doha last December that he signed deals worth a total of 12bn euros. Last September, the Qatari Amiri Navy carried out a joint exercise with the French Navy for two days in the territorial waters of Qatar. The aim of the exercise was to combat terrorism, piracy and the protection of oil installations and shipping lines.
The French President's visit to Doha culminated in the signing of several agreements between France and Qatar in combating terrorism and its financing. The two countries signed a declaration of intent and a joint road map, in addition to establishing the first bilateral dialogue between the two countries on this subject at 2017-end.
The large presence of highly experienced French companies in a number of projects in Qatar will contribute to the promotion of development and economic diversification, which are the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. Investments are likely to increase with World Cup 2022 approaching with the government spending to complete several projects related to the organisation of the World Cup in Doha in 2022 such as the metro and other projects related to infrastructure in the country.