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Tue 29 May 2012 07:33 PM

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France, UAE Rafale jets talks said to stall

Report suggests negotiations over sale of 60 warplanes have broken down

France, UAE Rafale jets talks said to stall
Rafale warplanes in action.

Negotiations between France and the UAE over the potential sale of 60 Rafale warplanes to the Gulf nation have "stalled", La Tribune newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The on-off negotiations have been under way for more than a year 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 Dassault-built jet.

Talks hit an obstacle in November when Abu Dhabi publicly criticized Dassault Aviation over the price of the multi-role combat jet and sought information on the competing Eurofighter Typhoon . It has also had contacts with US Boeing over the F-18 warplane.

But talks were reported to have taken off again ahead of the recent French elections.

Citing unidentified French industry and government sources, La Tribune said Abu Dhabi's leadership now appeared less hurried to close a deal and would be gauging the diplomatic engagement of President Francois Hollande, a Socialist who replaced Sarkozy earlier this month.

Dassault declined to comment.

India selected the Rafale to enter exclusive negotiations for a potential 126-plane order in late January, beating the Eurofighter, but analysts say the $10bn deal could also be influenced by the outcome of arms talks between France and UAE.

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