The United Arab Emirates on Friday signed arms orders with France for an amount of 17 billion euros, including the planned acquisition of 80 Rafale combat aircraft and 12 Caracal military transport helicopters, a reinforcement of economic and political ties sealed during a visit by Emmanuel Macron.
The contract for the order of 80 Rafale – of unprecedented scale for the Dassault combat aircraft – was qualified as “historic” by the French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence, quoted in a press release. Its amount amounts to 14 billion euros, people say.
80 Burst. Signature of a historic contract with the United Arab Emirates. A strategic partnership that is stronger than ever. Proud to see French industrial excellence at the top.
– Florence Parly (@florence_parly) December 3, 2021
This agreement, completed with an order for 12 Caracal helicopters from Airbus Helicopters (Airbus group), was announced after a meeting in Dubai between the French President and the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. , Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“The two leaders agreed to continue to deepen their partnership for their common security, and to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and radicalization,” the Elysee said in a statement released at the end of the meeting. a signing ceremony, on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020 universal exhibition site.
“In addition to the presence of three French military bases on UAE territory, this mutual trust is reflected in the acquisition of 80 Rafale planes, 12 Caracal helicopters, and associated elements” for an amount of more than 17 billion euros, we say from the same source.
With the United Arab Emirates, we are now sealing the sale of 80 Rafale planes and 12 Caracal helicopters. In confidence, we act together for our safety.
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 3, 2021
In detail, in addition to the 14 billion euros for the Rafale order, the sum of 17 billion euros also covers the amount of the order for 12 Caracal helicopters (one billion euros) as well as that of an order. of missiles (two billion euros) from the European manufacturer MBDA, a counterfeit between Airbus (37.5%), the British BAE Systems (37.5%) and the Italian Leonardo (25%), it is specified at the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
The extended “Louvre Abu Dhabi”
The announcement of this mega-order for Rafale, which brings the number of countries (excluding France) that have acquired the fighter plane to six, boosted the title of the Dassault group on the Paris Stock Exchange. It gained nearly 7.5% at midday, largely outperforming a sluggish Parisian market at the same time (-0.1%).
Beyond these military contracts, agreements between the two countries have also been signed in the economic and cultural fields.
The public investment bank Bpifrance and the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, Mubadala, have thus strengthened their co-investment partnership, each party having to add two billion euros over a ten-year horizon to their common platform intended to stimulate investments in the French economy.
50 years later, today we celebrate the history and achievements of #WATER on the occasion of the National Day by welcoming 50 Emirati senior citizens for a walk to the museum, accompanied by our employees and young volunteers #LouvreAbuDhabi # UAE50 https://t.co/Hze3LxSMYE
– Louvre Abu Dhabi (@LouvreAbuDhabi) December 3, 2021
A second agreement between Mubadala and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance will establish a framework allowing funds associated with the government of Abu Dhabi to potentially invest 1.4 billion euros in French funds. The cultural partnership initiated in 2007 between the two countries – notably materialized by the creation of the Louvre Abou Dabi – has seen its duration extended by 10 years, until 2047.
An agreement formalized the extension of the license for the “Louvre” brand for an amount of 165 million euros, with in return the loan of four emblematic works by the Parisian Louvre, explains one at the Elysee Palace. “The payment corresponding to this extension of the brand license will be paid in advance, from the end of 2022, without waiting for the expected term”, it is specified in a press release from the Ministry of Culture.
Pressure from NGOs on human rights
After this first Emirati step, Emmanuel Macron must go to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This visit comes amid growing concern among local leaders with regard to the United States’ commitment, their main traditional ally in the field of security, from which they nevertheless continue to obtain a large supply of armaments.
With these Franco-Emirati arms contracts, it is the first time that a close ally of the United States in the Arab world will depend more on French technology than American technology, observes Jalel Harchaoui, researcher of the NGO against transnational crime (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime).
“While Paris, unlike Washington, does not include this type of contract with almost no conditions in terms of respect for human rights, this new configuration will give Abu Dhabi enormous leeway,” he explains.
For its part, Human Rights Watch denounced in a statement that “France is carrying out these sales despite the UAE playing a leading role in the atrocity-marred military operations carried out by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. “
France’s continuing arms deals & dubious security partnerships with the UAE -and Saudi Arabia- despite atrocities in Yemen & other horrendous abuses betray France’s commitments on human rights and will remain a stain on Emmanuel Macron’s diplomatic record https://t.co/SGgYncVvM3 pic.twitter.com/WVH2sKho9g
– Bénédicte Jeannerod (@BenJeannerod) December 3, 2021
“Emmanuel Macron should denounce human rights violations” in the three countries he is to visit on the occasion of his tour in the Gulf, also notes HRW.