France's Foreign Minister has hinted that UAE could be the third potential customer for Dassault Rafale, after Egypt and India.
Speaking to reporters, French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius referring to talks with crown prince of Abu Dhabi (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan regarding Rafale said, "There is a French proverb that says France come in threes (Jamais deux sans trois...). I strongly believe in the proverb,” he said.
"I hope we will have good news, and we are working. It looks pretty,” confirmed Fabius, the discussions could accelerate in the coming months.
Fabius was in Riyadh on Sunday to express support for Saudi Arabia’s battle against Iran-backed rebels in neighboring Yemen.
For many years, France and the UAE are engaged in negotiations on the sale of 60 Rafale aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation, but negotiations were stalled lately.
However, the back to back sale of 24 Rafale fighters to Egypt in February and 36 to India which was decided last Friday during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France might have triggered other purchases amid regional conflicts in the Middle East.
France is also looking at Malaysia for the sale of 16 Rafale. Eurofighter has also submitted an offer to the Malaysian air force.
In February, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, had said that Malaysia was closely monitoring the progress of discussions with India. These discussions leading, the country could soon make its decision.