The United Arab Emirates has halted negotiations with France to buy Rafale fighter jets, which are manufactured by French aerospace firm Dassault Aviation (AM.FR), French newspaper Le Parisien said, citing the country's defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
"I didn't go to the United Arab Emirates for the Rafales. The Rafales will wait. This discussion will come later," Le Drian said, according to the newspaper. The minister traveled to the UAE last weekend.
He said the Gulf country has decided to reduce the share of its military spending on French equipment to 10% from a previous level of 70%, Le Parisien reported. The renewal of the UAE air force's fleet would be worth close to 10 billion euros ($12.9 billion), the newspaper said.
Last year, Le Drian's predecessor, Gerard Longuet, had said there was a high probability that France could sell as many as 60 Rafales to the UAE. Dassault, which supplies the French airforce with Rafale jets, hasn't found a customer outside France yet.
Newspaper Web site: http://www.leparisien.fr
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