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  • UAE, France sign $18 billion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour

UAE, France sign $18 billion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on December 3, 2021. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on December 3, 2021. (AFP)
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04 Dec 2021 12:12:45 GMT9
04 Dec 2021 12:12:45 GMT9
  • Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar

DUBAI: French President Emmanuel Macron met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday at the start of a two-day Gulf tour that saw France sell the UAE 80 French-made Rafale warplanes for $18.08 billion (€16 billion). 

France’s Defense Minister said the deal was France’s largest-ever weapons contract for export while the Minister for the Armed Forces hailed the deal as “historic.”

There was no immediate confirmation of the deal from Emirati officials. Macron was greeted at the leadership pavilion at Dubai’s Expo site for talks with Sheikh Mohammed.

“I don’t want to reveal the Christmas present” before the meeting, UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash told journalists in the build-up to the talks in Dubai.

Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar, host of next year’s World Cup, before traveling to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The UAE, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday, is expected to order dozens of Rafale jets to replace its Mirage 2000 aircraft acquired in the late 1990s.

The Emirates is the fifth biggest customer for the French defense industry with $5.31 billion (€4.7 billion) from 2011-2020, according to a parliamentary report.

Macron is accompanied by a large delegation in Dubai including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Defense Minister Florence Parly.

AP/AFP

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