DOHA: French Ambassador to Qatar Eric Chevallier on Tuesday denied the presence of French military bases in the small Gulf kingdom, describing reports to this effect as unsubstantiated “rumors”.
“Recent talk about the possibility of establishing a French military base in Qatar are mere rumors that should not be believed,” Chevallier said in remarks quoted by Qatari daily Al-Arab.
He went on to point out that a first batch of 36 French-built Dassault Rafale combat aircraft would be delivered to Qatar sometime next year.
Last December, Doha signed an agreement with Paris for the purchase of the twin-engine multirole fighters following a similar deal in 2015.
“The total volume of contracts and agreements signed between Doha and Paris over the past four years is estimated at some 25 billion euros, while total Qatari investments in France have exceeded 30 billion euros,” Chevallier said.
“Qatar’s investments in the French Republic, most of which have been made by the Qatar Investment Authority, have been made in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors,” he added.
Chevallier also noted that the two countries had signed an agreement in 2015 on the organization of major sporting events.
With Qatar set to host the 2022 Football World Cup and Paris set to host the 2024 Olympics, the diplomat hailed the “close cooperation between our two countries in this regard”. (AA)