French President discusses possible deal for 60 fighters during visit to Gulf country
French President Francois Hollande discussed the possibility of the UAE buying Rafale fighter jets during his visit to the Gulf country and said a deal hinged on price.
"We think it's a very good plane ... We have said so to our Emirati friends and they don't disagree," Hollande told a news conference in Dubai during a day-long visit to the United Arab Emirates. "After that, it's a question of price."
A French diplomatic source said last week that France would discuss a long-running possibility for the purchase of 60 Rafale fighters during Hollande's visit but said no contract would be signed during the trip.
Negotiations between France and the UAE over the potential sale of 60 Rafale fighter jets to the Gulf country are ongoing and have a chance of succeeding, a French diplomatic source said last week.
The on-off negotiations have been under way for several years and were given high-profile support by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who mounted a diplomatic campaign to win the first firm export order for the jet.
Talks hit an obstacle in November 2010 when Abu Dhabi publicly criticised Dassault Aviation, the maker of the Rafale, over the price of the multi-role combat jet and sought information on the competing Eurofighter Typhoon.
It has also contacted US company Boeing over the F-18 warplane.