The France establishes a record contract with United Arab Emirates, to whom it sells 80 fighter of war Gust of the group Dassault. In all 16 billion euros that have already made people discuss. Emmanuel Macron signed it on the occasion of his visit to Expo 2020 in Dubai. This is the most important order obtained abroad for the Rafale since they were marketed in 2004. The French president quoted the agreement on his Twitter account: “Today we are signing the sale of 80 Rafale aircraft with the Arab Emirates. and 12 Caracal helicopters. With confidence, we act together for our safety “.
However, not everyone likes the handshake in the Arab Emirates: the main reason is they have little regard for human rights. “France – protested the ecological candidate in the race for the Elysée in 2022, Yannick Jadot – makes us shame when it arms authoritarian regimes that despise human rights and whose wealth is built on fossil fuels. Paris will shine when its foreign policy is exemplary in the fight for freedom and climate justice ”. For years, France has been criticized for the arms deals signed in the Gulf, also because some of these weapons were used in the conflict in the Yemen, dove Saudi Arabia and allies are suspected of war crimes.
The agreement is even more worrying because, five months before the presidential elections, the president was welcomed with great fanfare by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyane (Mbz) in the honor pavilion of theuniversal exposition. For the president, the provisions on armaments represent “the largest military contract with a French component in our history”. The fighters will be delivered between 2027 and the 2031 and will go to replace the 60 Mirage 2000s acquired in the late 1990s. The Emirates are currently the fifth customer of the French defense industry in the decade 2011-2020, with 4.7 billion euros of orders. In Dubai, Macron was accompanied by a large delegation of ministers, including the foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Bruno the Mayor (Economy) and Florence Parly (Armed Forces), as well as heads of companies such as Airbus, Thales, Air Liquide or Edf. According to the UAE state news agency Wam, there are a total of 13 agreements and memoranda of understanding signed at Expo. These not only concern weapons but other strategic sectors such as energy and space. Among other things, the agency evokes a memorandum of understanding between the powerful Emirati sovereign fund Mubadala and the French Ministry of Economy. The visit was also an opportunity to extend for ten years, until 2047, the license from the Louvre Abu Dhabi, inaugurated in 2017. In exchange for an allocation of 165 million euros between 2022 and 2023, the Louvre is committed to lending four emblematic works currently top secret to its branch in the Gulf. Macron continued the tour in Qatar. He later headed to Gedda, in Saudi Arabia, for a meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: the French president thus becomes the most important Western leader to want to reconnect with the man at the helm of Riyadh, involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi (the American president Joe Biden, instead, refuses to meet him). A year ago, Macron raised more controversy following his decision to deliver the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic, the country’s highest honor, to the Egyptian president. Al Sisi: another head of government distant from respect for human rights.
In fact, the comment of the NGO was not long in coming Human Rights Watch: “The sale of arms and the maintenance of dubious military partnerships in the name of the fight against terrorism and to the detriment of human rights will remain a stain on Macron’s diplomatic budget”. Italy had imposed a stop on the export of missiles and aircraft bombs to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – a measure which was then partially overcome – which had created a diplomatic crisis with Abu Dhabi. Satisfied with the agreement, however, the French right, including Eric Zemmour, Macron’s rival.