Policy

The Rafale deal culminates in a growing military cooperation between UAE and France

A growing and continuous military cooperation between the UAE and France to enhance security and stability in the region


“Military co-operation between the UAE and France continues and grows, culminating Friday in the signing of an agreement between the two countries, under which the UAE will buy 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 Caracal helicopters from France”, the French presidency reported.

The two countries also agreed on close cooperation in the United Nations Security Council, to which the UAE will join in January, during the visit of the French president to the UAE.

These deals are the latest episode in the military cooperation between the two countries, which recently witnessed intensive discussions and joint maneuvers.

On Friday, Crown Prince of Abou Dabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane met with Macron, who is on a working visit to the country at the 2020 Dubai World Expo. The two sides discussed friendship relations, cooperation paths and opportunities for its development in various fields within the framework of the distinguished strategic partnership between the two countries, especially in the investment, economic, advanced technology, energy and food security aspects and cultural, educational, and other fields in their mutual interests.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed all issues and topics of common interest and developments on the regional and international arenas, and exchanged views on the developments in the Middle East. In this context, the two sides affirmed their joint keenness to strengthen various aspects of the strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and France, in addition to the consensus on the importance of supporting peaceful solutions and initiatives aimed at consolidating security and stability in the region in order to achieve the aspirations of its peoples for peace and development.

In a statement prior to the visit, the French presidency said that France has a long-term partnership with the United Arab Emirates, noting that the visit will strengthen it politically, strategically, defense, and also economically and culturally. He also announced that the UAE has signed an agreement with France to buy 80 Rafale aircraft, noting that France and the Abou Dabi Sovereign Fund announced a contract of 4 billion euros between Mubadala and Bpifrance.

France and the United Arab Emirates confirmed a deal to buy 12 Caracal helicopters as well, Reuters reported.

Significant connotations                                                                                                  

The announcement of these deals comes at an important time that shows that cooperation between the two countries is being enhanced to support security and stability in the region.

These indications show that the visit comes after the UAE celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Union and the golden jubilee of its founding in 1971. It also coincides with the passing of five decades of comprehensive and distinguished bilateral relations, during which the UAE and France developed and produced great success in many fields, especially political, economic and cultural.

The visit also comes three months after the summit between Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane and Macron in Paris in mid-September, during which the two sides confirmed their strong commitment to overcoming regional challenges and their common determination to combat extremism and terrorism and to strengthen their cooperation in the security and defense fields.

Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane and Macron reaffirmed the strong partnership between the two countries and expressed their permanent confidence in their ability to face current and future challenges.

Continued cooperation

Macron’s visit to the UAE and the announcement of these massive military deals also come at a time when military relations between the two countries are witnessing growing cooperation.

Two weeks ago, Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane, Crown Prince of Abou Dabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met at the Beach Palace in Abou Dabi, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of the French Republic, on November 14. During the meeting, they discussed relations of friendship and the level of cooperation and joint coordination between the two countries in military and defense matters that contribute to strengthening and developing joint work for the benefit of both countries.. They exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of common concern.

International initiatives

The UAE-French counter-terrorism effort has taken on an international institutional dimension through specific initiatives.

Through its cooperation with France and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Arab Emirates had established the International Coalition for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones A.

The Alliance aims to prevent terrorist groups from destroying and illegally trading cultural property.

Geneva-based Foundation A, led by the UAE and France, is the only international organization dedicated to the creation of a financial support fund for the protection of heritage in areas of armed conflict.

As part of the implementation of its objectives, it seeks to finance preventive actions, emergency interventions and concrete post-conflict rehabilitation projects in various parts of the world, as well as the promotion of peace, peace-building, local development and cultural diversity and the restoration of social cohesion through its efforts to protect heritage.

The idea for the alliance was launched at the International Conference on the Preservation of Endangered Cultural Heritage, held in Abou Dabi in December 2016.

The Foundation became a reality in March 2017, at the initiative of France and the United Arab Emirates, and now includes a number of States, along with a number of important institutions in civil society and prominent humanitarian figures.

The UAE Ministry of Interior is hosting its general secretariat and is preparing an international working group to confront transnational and intercontinental organized crime and extremist crimes through collaborative projects and the exchange of experiences in practices applied in these countries.

The Alliance includes the UAE, France, Italy, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Morocco, Slovakia, Senegal, Singapore, and Spain, as well as Israel, which formally joined the Alliance late last year.

Abou Dabi held its most recent meeting remotely on December 9, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated that the Alliance had international and humanitarian responsibilities to take the appropriate decisions and actions within its competence, which would be useful not only to the Coalition States but also to the world.

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