The defense minister travels to Abu Dhabi this weekend. The movement has a political connotation in the first place, even if export issues will be discussed.
After his European tour, Jean-Yves Le Drian takes the high seas. The defense minister went on Sunday for two days in the UAE, one of the few countries with which France has established a strategic bilateral defense. Meanwhile Brazil in early November, and India, in principle next year, he will discuss with his counterparts all major geopolitical issues of the moment, but also those related to exports.What revive speculation about the Rafale?
Jean-Yves Le Drian is the first member of the government Ayrault to visit the UAE. His first move has a political connotation. "France and the UAE are aligned on all the hot topics of the moment, such as Iran or Syria, but we need to strengthen political dialogue," says one in his entourage. The Defence Minister will then visit the three permanent French military bases located on-site implementation of the agreement of self-defense that binds the two countries.
Beyond purely military matters, this movement will also be the opportunity to speak exports at a time when the flow of orders from Emirates French manufacturers are at their lowest. The first case, of course, is that the Rafale. Despite (because of that) his strong personal involvement, Nicolas Sarkozy failed to wrest a contract. Launched in June 2008, negotiations have had their ups and downs. Since the change of government in France, they are in "standby".
The visit of Jean-Yves Le Drian will she revive them? Not sure, because Emirati are in no hurry to replace their 60 Mirage 2000-9 that give them satisfaction (as well as 80 F-16s, also at the top of the technology). Moreover, Abu Dhabi must find one or more countries able to take before going to the generation Rafale. No representative of Dassault is also provided in the French delegation.
Jean-Yves Le Drian evoke perhaps another very important issue because it concerns Nexter. The Emirates have studied the modernization of their fleet of armored hoping for the former Giat Industries to place hundreds of VBCI. The figure covers 700 copies circulated. Local authorities have even asked that consideration be given to establishing a joint venture with Tawazun the local arms industry. To cut short in September any negotiations, according to our information, without knowing whether the Finnish Patria, the competitor vying for this market, suffered the same fate. "There has been a turnaround which we do not know the cause," says a source close to the matter.