France sells 80 Rafales to the United Arab Emirates for 17 billion euros

The United Arab Emirates signed an agreement to purchase 80 Rafale fighter jets this Friday, December 3, during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Dubai, a record order for the fighter jet that entered service in 2004. In total, this order, with the purchase of 12 Caracal helicopters and related elements, represents an amount of more than 17 billion euros, according to Elysée.

“This is a great achievement of the strategic partnership between the two countries”welcomed the French Presidency and stressed the importance of the presence of three French bases in the Emirates.

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Emmanuel Macron in the Gulf, French “Realpolitik” in action

This sale “is a French success”said Eric Trappier, Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation, who signed the deal with Tarek Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, CEO of Tawazun Economic Council, responsible for security and defense acquisitions.

“A Historic Contract”

The agreement was signed while Emmanuel Macron and Abu Dhabi’s Head of State and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, known as MBZ, were speaking at the World Exposition’s Pavilion of Honor on the first day of a tour by the French President of three Gulf States.

The aircraft will be delivered from 2027 to the F4 standard, a development program worth almost two billion euros, deliverable in 2024 and presented as “technological, industrial and strategic leap”.

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In France, the Minister for the Armed Forces welcomed Florence Parly “historic contract”contribute “straight to regional stability”.

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The Emirates are currently the fifth most important customer of the French defense industry in the decade 2011-2020 with an order intake of 4.7 billion euros, according to the report to Parliament on arms exports from France.

International breakthrough of the Rafale

This order comes ten years after fruitless negotiations backed by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Since then, the Rafale has made an international breakthrough despite competition from American and European aircraft.

In recent years, Paris has come under fire for using some of these weapons in the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and its allies are suspected of war crimes by NGOs like Amnesty International.

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In Dubai, Emmanuel Macron will be accompanied by a large delegation of ministers including Jean-Yves Le Drian (foreign affairs), Bruno Le Maire (economy) and Florence Parly (army), and business leaders such as Total will sign a series of agreements.

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The powerful Emirati sovereign wealth fund Mubadala has announced commitments of eight billion euros, including six from the Ministry of Economy, to significantly increase its investment in French companies.

“Cooperate Against Daesh”

In addition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi license agreement was extended by ten years to 2047 with a payment of 165 million euros, demonstrating the success of the museum, which opened in the Emirates in 2017.

Emmanuel Macron arrived in Dubai the day after celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Emirates on December 2, 1971.

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During this tour, which will take him to Qatar at the end of the day and then to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, he wants to discuss “Fight against terrorism, radical Islamism and their financing” there “Cooperation with these states, especially against Daesh, is essential to ensure the security of the French and Europeans”like the Elysee.

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On key regional issues – Lebanon, Libya, Iran’s nuclear power, Iraq – the head of state wants France to play a role “Reliable and indispensable partner in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders”.

Meeting with Mohammad bin Salman

He should stand up for Lebanon while the economic crisis he’s going through is exacerbated by sanctions from several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, which has halted its imports from Beirut.

Emmanuel Macron will be one of the first Western leaders to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Jeddah this Friday morning in Jeddah since the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s consulate in Istanbul, which shattered the image of Saudi Arabia has severely damaged the king’s son.

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“As everywhere in his travels, he (the President) raises the issue of human rights with his interlocutors when necessary.”stated the Presidency in response to criticism from NGOs about the relevance of this meeting.

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She says the meeting isn’t about that “Back in the Saddle” MBS, but what“We can’t imagine an ambitious policy” In the middle east “without leading a demanding dialogue” with his country a member of the G20 and the most important economy in the region.

“A stain on Macron’s diplomatic record”

This was announced by the NGO Human Rights Watch on Friday “Selling arms and maintaining shady military partnerships in the name of counter-terrorism and to the detriment of human rights would sully Emmanuel Macron’s diplomatic record.”.

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Weapons, covered by a separate contract with missile manufacturer MBDA, include Mica NG air-to-air missiles and Black Shaheen cruise missiles, an Emirati version of the French Scalp missile.

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The Rafales are due to be delivered between 2027 and 2031 and are set to replace the 60 Mirage 20009 purchased from Abu Dhabi in 1998, according to Minister Florence Parly’s office.

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“This contract guarantees us that the continuity of the Rafale production chain is ensured until the end of 2031, it gives our industry a lot of visibility.”so the office of the minister.

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