Qatar’s embassy in France has expressed “astonishment” and “surprise” at comments made by a French presidential candidate, who this week called for the reevaluation of ties with the GCC.
Bruno Le Maire, former agriculture minister, said that if he’s elected president next year, France would review its diplomatic relationships with “a number of Gulf states,” including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
According to AFP, he said the Gulf supports a political Islam that “is inconsistent with our most fundamental values,” including freedom of expression, freedom to criticize and women’s rights.
In response, Qatar’s embassy said the politician should be aware of the friendly ties between both countries, which are based on common interests. In a statement, it added:
“The obsession that some public figures have with attacking Qatar for personal and political motives is also both surprising and regrettable.”
Qatar and France maintain close ties particularly in the fields of defense, sports and business.
Last year, Qatar committed to buying 24 Rafale fighter jets, thought to be worth around €6.3 billion (QR25.7 billion). The two nations also regularly hold joint military training exercises.
Meanwhile, the country’s sovereign wealth fund also owns French football club Paris St. Germain, making it one of the richest teams in Europe.
And Qatar’s national carrier is a big customer for Airbus, with Akbar Al Baker saying this month that Qatar Airways may buy more A380 superjumbos after already ordering 10 of them.