(Corrects to say Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, not defence
minister, in third paragraph)
PARIS, June 24 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)