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French President Inks Rafale Sale Deal During Qatar Visit

Sputnik News

14:31 04.05.2015(updated 15:20 04.05.2015)

French President François Hollande signed with Qatari leaders a multi-billion-euro deal to sell Rafale fighter jets to the emirate shortly after he arrived in Doha at the start on Monday of a two-day tour of the Middle East.

The 6.3-billion-euro agreement includes an order for 24 jets manufactured by French defense group Dassault with an option on a further 12 planes, AFP reported from Doha.

Another contract will involve the training of 36 Qatari pilots and around one hundred mechanics.

Hollande met Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to discuss the crises rocking the region, including Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on anti-government rebels in Yemen.

From Doha he will be heading to Saudi Arabia to meet King Salman and attend a key Gulf Cooperation Council summit opening there on Tuesday.

After years of trying to sell its Rafale jets abroad, Dassault has recently clinched several lucrative contracts with Egypt and India.

France is about to ink another fighter jet deal soon as negotiations with the UAE appear to be headed in the 'right direction', according Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Experts believe that aside from the Rafale jets' proven successes in combat zones like Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, French policy in the Middle East has played a significant role in securing the sales, the AFP report said.

Sputnik



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