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CORRECTED-France, Saudi Arabia to sign contracts worth $12 bln - Fabius
June 24, 2015 / 1:01 PM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-France, Saudi Arabia to sign contracts worth $12 bln - Fabius

(Corrects to say Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, not defence minister, in third paragraph)

PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) - France and Saudi Arabia plan to sign $12 billion of deals on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters during a visit by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in deals highlighting Paris’ growing commercial ties in the Middle East.

The contracts include 23 Airbus H145 helicopters worth $500 million, Fabius told reporters. The H145, previously known as the EC145, is a light twin-engined helicopter typically used for emergency services or border patrols. A military version is used by the U.S. Army.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he was still discussing the price for a contract for French naval patrol boats, built by DCNS. Saudi Arabia also plans to sign a feasibility study for two EPR reactors built by Areva , Fabius added.

The contracts, the latest to be agreed between Paris and a Gulf Arab state, come after French President Francois Hollande was invited by Gulf Arab leaders in May to address their summit in Saudi Arabia, a rare privilege for a foreign head of state. (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Mark John)

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