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Mon 24 Nov 2014 01:58 PM

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Dassault silent on report of imminent Rafale sale to Qatar

French aviation firm declines comment on plan to sell at least 24 combat jets to Gulf state

Dassault silent on report of imminent Rafale sale to Qatar

France's Dassault Aviation declined comment on Monday on a media report that said France could soon sell at least two dozen Rafale combat jets to Qatar.

Europe 1 radio reported France was in "very advanced negotiations" to sell a tranche of at least 24 of the Dassault-built fighters to the Gulf state, which has been seeking a total of 72 warplanes to renew and expand its fleet of French Mirage 2000 jets.

"We never comment on export prospects," a spokesman for Dassault Aviation said.

Europe 1 radio said such a deal would be worth 2.5 billion euros and could help unblock other negotiations asFrance seeks a first export customer for its premier military product.

France has been in exclusive negotiations with India for 126 Rafale planes for about two years.

Defence sources say France and Qatar have held intense negotiations in recent months over fighters and other arms.

Dassault is seen as one of three contenders for fighter business in the Gulf state alongside Boeing's F-15 and the four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon, which last week became the latest combat jet to include plans for an advanced radar.