UAE, France sign military cooperation agreement

By Xinhua

Abu Dhabi : The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France signed here on Tuesday a military cooperation agreement, the official Emirates News Agency reported.

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The agreement was signed by the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French Defense Minister Herve Morin, the report said.

The report also said that the agreement is aimed to boost “military cooperation between the two friendly countries.”

According to a previous report by French daily Le Monde, the military accord would grant the French navy a permanent military base in the UAE.

Under the agreement, France would be able to station its naval units in the UAE across the Gulf from Iran, like the United States and a few other Western nations with a military base in the crucial oil-producing region.

The agreement would add to the long-standing military cooperation with the Arab Gulf states including the UAE and Qatar.

It is one of the two major deals reached during the state visit to the Gulf country by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the two countries signed a landmark bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, which will provide a framework for cooperation between the two countries in the evaluation and potential use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The UAE is the last stop of Sarkozy’s first Gulf tour since taking office last May, which has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.