DOHA, Qatar — Qatar's ruling emir and French President Emmanuel Macron signed 12 billion euros ($14 billion) in deals during the French president's visit to Doha on Thursday, including the purchase of 12 French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jets with the option of buying 36 more.
The agreement brings the total number of Rafales the Gulf Arab country will have to 36.
France and Qatar also agreed that Qatar would purchase 490 VBCI
Qatar announced it would additionally buy 50 Airbus twin-engine A321s with option of buying 30 more.
Macron's one-day trip to Qatar comes as the Gulf nation faces continued isolation and a boycott by some of its Arab
Qatar has long denied supporting extremists and shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran. It has also rejected demands put forth by the quartet as infringement on its sovereignty.
In a rare press conference, held with Macron, Qatar's ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said it was especially disappointing that
"For us, our dignity and the sovereignty of Qatar are above everything. If our brothers want to resolve this crisis then we are ready on a basis that is clear and feasible to everyone and without the interference of anyone's sovereignty," he said.
Earlier this week, a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Kuwait failed to bring the standoff any closer to a resolution.
While in Qatar, Macron
The air base is home to some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military's Central Command. France also has a contingent of several hundred French troops in Qatar as part of the 1,200 French forces active in the region in the battle against the IS group.
Macron smiled and shook hands with the French and American soldiers who greeted him at the base before walking into a meeting with the base's top commanders.
Speaking to coalition soldiers, he said the next few months of battle will determine the outcome of the war against the IS group in Iraq in Syria.
"This military win does not signify the end of the operations and the end of our battle because first we need to stabilize and win peace in Iraq and Syria," he told troops. "Next spring is decisive in the situation in Iraq."
Macron also stressed in his remarks at the air base that France wants to avoid partition in Syria and "avoid the domination of certain international elements whose interests contradict peace."
Later, during his joint press conference, he noted the importance of maintaining the Iranian nuclear accord that France helped negotiate alongside other world powers. He also called for an internationally defined framework to contain Iran's regional ambitions and "ways to put limits" on Iran's presence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
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This story has been corrected to show that the deals signed are worth 12 billion euros, not $12 billion.
Fay Abuelgasim, The Associated Press