Hollande oversees signing deal to sell fighter jets to Qatar

French President Francois Hollande has overseen a major military deal with Qatar which will supply the Arab country with dozens of state-of-the-art fighter jets.

Hollande on Monday hammered out a 6.3-billion-euro (USD-seven-billion) deal in Doha to sell the monarchy 24 Rafale fighter jets, with an option on a further 12.

“If we are present here in Qatar… it is because there has been a long tradition, and because France is seen as a reliable country which a partner country can have confidence in,” he said during the ceremony.

Later in the day, Hollande departed the Qatari capital of Doha for Riyadh where he will attend a meeting of Arab leaders who are trying to explore ways of strengthening the Saudi aggression against the impoverished Arab country.

This would be the first time a Western leader personally attends a summit of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), a regional alliance of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All but Oman are contributing to Saudi airstrikes against Yemen.

Besides attending the [P]GCC summit, which Hollande has described as an honor, the French leader will hold meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz as well as the fugitive former president of Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia in March.

A Yemeni man searches for survivors under the rubble in houses destroyed by an overnight Saudi airstrike on a residential area in the port city of Aden’s Dar Saad suburb, on May 2, 2015. © AFP

The [P]GCC’s Tuesday summit is expected to discuss options to counter the ongoing advance of the Houthi Ansarullah fighters in Yemen.

The French president’s visits to Qatar and Saudi Arabia came as the Action Against Hunger, a major rights advocacy group which is based in France, called on Holalnde to stop pursuing political and business objectives in the Persian Gulf and instead seek an end to the Saudi aggression in Yemen which has killed an estimated 1,200 people since late March, leaving thousands more in a catastrophic humanitarian condition.

“Faced with the current disaster, there is now a humanitarian imperative that must take precedence over any political or military objective,” said the group, urging Hollande “to do everything possible to obtain a ceasefire and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.”

By Press TV