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Fri 5 Aug 2011 10:21 AM

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UAE's deal for Rafale fighter jets seen by end-2011

French media say negotiations have resumed and a deal could be seal between Sept and end of year

UAE's deal for Rafale fighter jets seen by end-2011
French fighter jet targets Libya no-fly zone

Negotiations have resumed to sell Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighterjets to the UAE, and a deal could be sealed between September and the end of the year, French daily La Tribune said on Friday.

Dassault Aviation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last month, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said the UAE was France's best bet in the short term for clinching an export deal for the Rafale.

The French company has still not found a foreign buyer for the multi-role Rafale, billed as one of the most effective but also one of the most expensive fighter jets in the world.

The minister said the UAE was no longer demanding a more powerful engine, previously a condition for a deal, and said he thought Rafale airstrikes in Libya had helped sway the Emirati government.

"The operational and multi-role capacities of the Rafale are being proven on a daily basis with these strikes," he said.

"The Libyan conflict is a clear demonstration that the current engine capacity is sufficient."

The UAE has been in talks with Dassault since 2008 over the purchase of 60 Rafale jets, estimated at 10 billion dollars, to replace their fleet of Mirage 2000s which they bought in 1983.

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