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France plans to open a military base in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on May 27, a leading French newspaper reported on Thursday. According to Le Monde, the United Arab Emirates has long been in favor of a French base on its territory. However, former President Jacques Chirac’s presidential administration was pushing for bases in French-speaking African countries. The military base will be created under a 1995 agreement between France and the U.A.E. on defense and strategic cooperation. It is expected that some 450 French military personnel will be based at the military installation. Citing an unnamed diplomat, Le Monde said that the United Arab Emirates “has for a long time needed to stand out from its neighbors and not depend only on the United States.” The newspaper said the Emirates is France’s largest buyer of weapons. France already has two bases in the Indian Ocean, on the island of Reunion and in Djibouti, and the opening of a third base is in line with France’s changes in its strategic priorities, outlined in a new doctrine of national security, called the White Book, that President Nicolas Sarkozy introduced last summer.
France to sell military jets, weapons to Kuwait
KUWAIT CITY (AP) – France is in discussions to sell combat jets, frigates and an anti-missile defense system to Kuwait, the French president said Wednesday, the latest effort to raise his country’s profile in the Middle East. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the two countries would also consider updating their defense pact and cementing “a strategic partnership,” during his brief visit to the oil-rich Gulf state. “Defense