Qatar set to buy 36 Rafale warplanes from France

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DOHA: Qatar is set to purchase 36 Rafale jet fighters from France’s leading arms maker, Dassault Aviation, under a multi-billion-dollar deal.

The lucrative arms deal, which is due to be signed in the coming days, includes a firm order for 24 warplanes with an option on 12 more aircraft, sources close to the negotiations said Thursday as cited in an AFP report.

According to the sources, who wished to remain anonymous, the French weapons exporter is also involved in negotiations with another Arab Persian Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a yet unspecific arms deal.

This is while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has recently suggested that the weapons deal with the UAE is evolving “in the right direction.”

Qatar and UAE both recently joined a Saudi coalition engaged in a military aggression against the impoverished nation of Yemen.

The looming Dassault deal with Qatar is the company’s third major deal this year after struggling for years to sell any of its Rafale warplanes to foreign customers. It has recently struck high-profile weapons deals with Egypt and India.

Earlier this year, Egypt purchased 24 Rafales in a 5.2-billion-euro ($5.8-billion) deal negotiated in only three months, prompting optimism in Paris that the arms agreement would serve as a catalyst to unblock potential sales to other governments.

India followed suit and revealed its order for the purchase of 36 Rafale jetfighters during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to France.

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