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UAE to buy surveillance satellites from France

Staff writer |
The United Arab Emirates and France have signed an agreement to collaborate on an Earth Observation Space Capability initiative.

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The two sides issued a joint statement on signing the agreement, which is part of the strategic partnership framework bonding the two countries to bolster bilateral cooperation. The statement said that the initiative would extend the longstanding bilateral relationship into a new and very promising area of strategic collaboration, writes Bahrain News Agency.

The UAE and France commended the strong cooperation over the last four decades in the sectors of energy and defence. The relations bonding the two countries were bolstered even further in 1995 and 2009 with the signing of key defence agreements between the two countries.

The United Arab Emirates ordered two military surveillance satellites from France on Monday, in a deal worth more than 700 million euros.

The Falcon Eye deal includes two high-resolution Helios surveillance satellites, a control station and training for 20 UAE engineers. The two satellites will be built by Astrium, the space division of EADS, and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between French Thales and Italian Finmeccanica.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attended the signing ceremony.

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