As French President Emmanuel Macron began a Gulf tour on Friday, the UAE inked a record 14-billion-euro contract for 80 Rafale warplanes and committed billions of euros in other accords.
The largest international order for French jets was announced as Macron met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the start of a two-day trip that also includes stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The UAE, which is rich in natural resources and is one of France’s largest defense customers, has also placed an order for 12 Caracal military transport helicopters for more than 17 billion euros.
The Mubadala sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi has pledged eight billion euros in investments in French companies, while the Louvre art gallery’s license in the UAE capital has been renewed for another ten years, until 2047.
According to a legislative report, the Emirates was the fifth largest customer for the French defense sector from 2011 to 2020, spending 4.7 billion euros.
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