Saudi-France sign multibillion-dollar deals

SaudiFranceSaudi Arabia signed agreements worth billions of dollars on Wednesday to buy helicopters, Airbus jets and two possible nuclear reactors from France.
The signing in Paris comes as Saudi Arabia is seeking to bolster its military capabilities while it is leading a coalition against extremists in neighboring Yemen.
A high-level delegation led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with top French officials, including President Francois Hollande, on Wednesday.
Paris and Riyadh agreed to press ahead with feasibility studies to build two flagship Areva-designed EPR nuclear reactors as well as nuclear waste and safety training as the two allies firm up business ties.
The countries set up a joint committee in May to finalize some 20 projects across sectors ranging from defense to transport infrastructure and civil aviation over the coming months worth billions of euros.
Saudi and French officials signed accords at the presidential Elysee Palace for 23 helicopters for the Interior Ministry and 50 Airbus jets.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday that the two have agreed to sell French patrol boats “to enhance the capability of the Saudi Coast Guard, which is today facing growing threats.”
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said talks were ongoing on price for a contract for French naval patrol boats built by DCNS, partly owned by Thales. The two sides are aiming to finalize the majority of deals under discussion in October.
“Our ties are excellent, historic and strategic,” Al-Jubeir said. “We are trying to take them even higher.”
Al-Jubeir also urged more help from the region to help Yemen reconstruct.
“Gulf countries should send their help to Yemen, so that our (Yemeni) brothers could reconstruct their country and find a political solution and sign a (peace) agreement,” he told reporters.
“I hope that Houthis will return to senses and understand that they might have a role in Yemen, but that it should be done in a peaceful manner.”

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