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Middle East

Sanctions-hit Qatar hails French cooperation during FM visit

media Qatar's Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani Reuters/Naseem Zeitoon

Qatar, which faces a blockade by its Saudi-led Gulf neighbours, said it wanted more economic cooperation with France during a visit by French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday.

Qatar wants to "increase economic cooperation" with France and is "satisfied" with security coordination, Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in a statement after meeting Le Drian.

Le Drian is a frequent visitor to Doha, which has faced a three-month campaign of sanctions by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrein and Egypt who accuse it of supporting "terrorist groups and individuals".

Qatar has made efforts to show that its relations with Western powers remain good.

Sheikh Mohamed repeated Qatar's support for Kuwait's mediation in the Gulf crisis, which shows no signs of abating.

He also expressed his satisfaction with security coordination with the French authorities in the field of "exchanging information" and with visits of officials to each others' countries.

Le Drian was instrumental in landing a deal for Qatar to buy 24 Rafale fighters from French weapons manufacturer Dassault, which has also sold the planes to Egypt.

France also does business with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.

The two ministers discussed the conflicts in Syria and Libya, according to the statement.

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