France hopeful of sale of 60 Rafale jets to UAE

PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Friday it was pleased with the progress of what could be the first sale of Dassault Aviation's AVMD.PA Rafale fighter jets to a foreign buyer after the United Arab Emirates detailed its requirements.

“The President, who is closely following the talks that are under way with the United Arab Emirates for the purchase of 60 Rafale planes, is pleased that the dossier is making progress,” the Elysee palace said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, state news agency WAM said the UAE military had told France of its requirements for the fighter.

“The Government of France has received the technical and operational specifications required in the French Rafale jet fighter from the UAE Armed Forces in the framework of the ongoing negotiations between the governments of the UAE and France,” WAM said.

“The date of the signing the deal, which could be one of the most important export contracts of the aircraft so far, is to be set based on the results of the financial negotiations,” the agency said, without giving further details.

French newspaper Le Parisien said in May that France was finalizing the sale of 60 Rafale planes in a deal worth 6-8 billion euros ($8-11 billion). Dassault declined to confirm the figures and said an agreement may be reached this year.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, editing by Will Waterman