France signs € 17 billion defense contract with United Arab Emirates – POLITICO – .

France signs € 17 billion defense contract with United Arab Emirates – POLITICO – .

France and the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement to sell the Gulf state 80 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, the Elysee said on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan signed the contract in Dubai during a visit to the French President’s Gulf, ending 13 years of negotiations initiated by Macron’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The defense agreement, worth more than 17 billion euros, includes contracts for 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 H225 helicopters manufactured by Airbus.

“This is a historic contract with the United Arab Emirates, a strategic partnership stronger than ever,” wrote French Defense Minister Florence Parly. on Twitter, adding that she was “proud to see French industrial excellence at the top”. Paris has a permanent military base in Abu Dhabi.

The two countries will also cooperate in the space field, with a letter of intent signed between the French CNES and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) to work on the UAE Rashid-2 lunar rover program.

Macron’s visit to the United Arab Emirates was part of a two-day Gulf tour during which he will visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on Saturday. Macron is the first Western head of state to do so since a UN expert found “credible evidence” that bin Salman was linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. These claims are also supported by a declassified US intelligence report.

Rym Momtaz contributed reporting.


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