UAE - The UAE and France have signed 13 mega agreements and memorandums of understanding, including the Rafale fighter jets deal, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron amid the Year of 50th celebrations.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, welcomed Macron at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The leaders discussed friendly relations, joint cooperation and opportunities in various fields, especially in the investment and economic aspects, advanced technology, energy and food security, culture and education.

During the meeting, both sides reviewed issues and exchanged views on the developments in the region and globally. They affirmed their determination to strengthen the various aspects of the strategic partnership, and the importance of sharing a common vision in supporting peaceful solutions and initiatives aimed at ensuring security and stability in the region.

Later, both the leaders attended the signing ceremony of the deals, which will help further boost the strategic partnership.

The UAE’s Ministry of Defence entered into three agreements with French entities. First with Dassault Aviation on the purchase of aircraft and associated products and services, second with MBDA on the supply of Rafale arms equipment, and third with Airbus Helicopters on the purchase of H225M helicopters.

Macron tweeted that the deal on warplanes was an act of confidence.

“With the UAE, we now seal the sale of 80 Rafale planes and 12 Caracal helicopters,” he said.

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces revealed that the historic agreement to sell 80 Rafale jets worth 16 billion euros (Dh66 billion) was its largest-ever weapons deal.

Herve Grandjean, spokesperson for the ministry pointed out that the fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation will be delivered to the UAE between 2026 and 2031.

Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, termed the deal as “a French success story” and said the UAE will be the first user of the Rafale F4 outside France.

“I wish to thank the authorities of the Emirates for their renewed confidence in our aircraft.”

Meanwhile, Mubadala inked separate MoUs with the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery, and BPI France.

There was a cooperation agreement between ADNOC and TotalEnergies, and a contract inked between Borouge and Technip for construction of word-class ethane cracker unit as part of the Borouge 4 expansion project.

The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology signed an MoU with the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery.

There were MoUs between Masdar and energy company ENGIE on a strategic alliance, another pact between ADQ and the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery, and between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Electricite De France.

“Security, prosperity and the influence of our two countries are at the heart of a partnership that grows even bigger with today’s major decisions,” the French Embassy tweeted.

There was an agreement to extend by 10 more years the use of the name ‘Louvre’ for the museum in Abu Dhabi. Roselyne Bachelot, French Minister of Culture, said the extension of the intergovernmental pact until 2047 testifies to a “renewed confidence” between the two countries.

Also, a Letter of Intent was inked on moon exploration between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and the French National Space and Research Centre.

At the Expo 2020 Dubai, Macron visited the UAE pavilion with Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth. He expressed pride at seeing the French pavilion among the most visited at the Expo.

“Our cultural heritage, our excellence in the fields of the future and our know-how shine,” he added.

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