DOHA, June 23 French companies have made offers
on supplying military equipment to Qatar, including equipping
its air force with Rafale fighter planes made by Dassault
, President Francois Hollande said on Sunday.
France is the top military supplier to the Gulf state and
Hollande said he had discussed future supplies of military
equipment with Qatari officials.
"The companies which accompanied me explained the quality of
their products and in particular, on Rafale, the opportunity
there would be for Qatar to buy these planes," he told a news
conference in the Qatari capital Doha.
He said talks were continuing and did not give further
Qatar said in 2011 it wanted to replace its fleet of 12
Mirage fighter jets, possibly buying 24 to 36 new aircraft and
in addition to Rafale is looking at the Eurofighter Typhoon and
various rival U.S. aircraft.
The French president is in Doha for a meeting of Western and
Arab countries over the two-year-old Syrian conflict.
Earlier on Sunday Qatar's state news agency QNA quoted
Hollande as saying that France had made new proposals for air,
land and naval defence contracts and that he was confident of
Paris has close commercial and political ties with Qatar and
also hopes to use Hollande's visit to push France's commercial
interests in the country and encourage investment into France,
where gas-rich Qatar already has assets estimated to be worth
about $10 billion.
"France will always be there for Qatar to ensure its defence
and security," Hollande told QNA.