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After India, France to sell 24 fighter jets to Qatar

Paris : France has agreed to sell 24 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar, while two similar sales were commissioned with Egypt in February and India in early April, a statement said on Thursday.

The Elysee, home of the French presidency, announced in a statement that Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani confirmed on Thursday over telephone to French President Francois Hollande his intention to buy the Rafale fighters, reports Efe.

The French defence ministry explained that the contract, which includes an option for ordering 12 more fighters, would be signed on May 4 in the presence of the French president for $7 billion (6.3 billion euros).

France had been undergoing bumpy negotiations with Qatar for two years, while headway was made in recent months.

The last points of the contract were finalised on April 21 during a visit by French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The first shipment is scheduled for mid-2018, while the contract includes the training of 36 Qatari pilots and dozens of technicians.

Earlier this month, France sold 36 Rafale fighters to India, only two months after it sold 24 to Egypt.

Paris was also negotiating other possible orders with Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, while it has made contact with Indonesia and Kuwait.