Oil-rich Gulf states wish 'success' to France's Hollande

AFP, Monday 7 May 2012

Leaders congratulate the new president of France, a country with which they have built strong economic relations over the last 5 years

The oil-rich states of the Gulf congratulated Francois Hollande, the newly-elected president of France, which has major economic ties with these countries, their official news agencies said Monday.

President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, sent a telegram wishing Hollande "success" and "further progress in relations" between the two countries, in a statement carried by WAM news agency.
 
France during Nicolas Sarkozy's rule, bolstered its military ties with the Gulf state since it set up its first permanent military base in Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest and largest of the UAE's seven emirates.
 
But France has so far failed in convincing the UAE to buy its Rafale fighters and in 2009 lost out to a South Korean consortium on a $20.4 billion deal to build nuclear power plants in the Gulf state.
 
Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani also congratulated Hollande in a brief message carried by news agency QNA.
 
Gas-rich Qatar is a traditional French ally and provided vital Arab support to French and British-led efforts to get a UN mandate for military action to protect civilians during the 2011 uprising in Libya.
 
Qatar also gave military support to NATO-led air operations in Libya by deploying troops on the ground.
 
The small Gulf peninsula state has also raised its stake in French energy giant Total and will launch a fund for entrepreneurs from France's deprived suburbs.
 
Bahrain's King Hamad too sent a telegram to Hollande wishing him "success" and hailing the "deep and strong ties between the two countries."
 
Hollande, the 57-year-old Socialist won power Sunday in a close race against incumbent right-winger Sarkozy and now faces the immediate challenge of dealing with Europe's debt crisis.
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