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Syria: Hollande off to Qatar and Jordan


The French press has depicted President François Hollande’s trip to Qatar as an intent to normalize relations between the two countries. It highlights the development of relations with other Gulf states, the controversy over Qatar’s investment in the Muslim-populated suburbs of France and, finally, hones in on the prospect of lucrative contracts.

The foreign media, on the other hand, interpret the trip from a different angle. For them, Hollande’s jaunt to the Gulf is a facade for a tour centering on Syria. His presence in Doha indeed involves a Franco-Qatari economic conference, but his main interest is the meeting of the "Friends of Syria" (involving 11 foreign ministers, including John Kerry), before travelling to Jordan, again to discuss Syria.

Incidentally, talks with Emir Hamad and his prime minister may prove to be somewhat uneasy now that the two men were disavowed by Washington and are on their way out. By early August, power will be handed over to Prince Tamim.

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