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Middle East

Macron signs deals, slams Trump's Jerusalem declaration in Qatar

media French President Emmanuel Macron with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thanion Thursday REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

Qatar signed contracts worth more than 10 billion euros with French companies on Thursday during a visit by Emmanuel Macron. The French president again criticised US leader Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Macron repeated criticism he made in Algeria the day before of Trump's "unilateral decision", saying it contravenes international law.

"The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security which concerns the entire international community," he declared. "And the solution must be found through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and it's in this context that Jerusalem will be able to have status under the aegis of the United Nations."

More Rafales purchased

Qatar, which had already bought 24 Dassault Rafale jet fighters for 6.3 billion euros from France's Dassault in 2015, agreed to buy 12 more with an option on 36 others during Macron's visit.

The Rafale deal was worth 1.1 billions euros and the Airbus sale was 5.5 billion euros, according to the French president's office.

And the Paris region transport authority, RATP, and the SNCF national rail network have jointly won the contract to run and maintain Doha's metro and tram system.

Qatar also signed a letter of intent for a 1.5-billion-euro deal for 490 armoured cars with French company Nexter and a contract worth about 100 million euros to clean up the Al Karaana lagoon with the Suez lagoon.

Fighting terrorism

Both Macron and Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, were present at the signing of the contracts.

They themselves signed several strategic accords, notably a declaration of intent to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and radicalisation.

During last week's Europe-Africa summit in Côte d'Ivoire, the French president said he would ask Qatar to stop financing foundations and schools that propagate radical Islam.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already given such an undertaking, he said.

Macron, who visited the US Centcom base in Qatar on Thursday morning, intends to organise an international conference on the financing of terrorism in Paris at the beginning of next year.

Qatar is trying to break through the embargo placed on it by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt in June on the grounds that it allegedly supports "terrorist" groups.

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