World Economy

France, Saudis to Seal Contracts Worth Billions of Euros

France, Saudis to Seal Contracts Worth Billions of EurosFrance, Saudis to Seal Contracts Worth Billions of Euros

France is in talks to agree billions of euros worth of contracts in Saudi Arabia that could be finalized “quickly”, ranging from the defense sector to civil aviation, transport and energy, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

Speaking after President Francois Hollande held talks with key ministers of the Saudi Arabia’s new cabinet, Fabius said the two countries had set up a joint committee to seal some 20 projects over the coming months, Reuters reported.

“It covers 20 projects. If these projects are finalized then that will represent several dozen billions of euros,” he told reporters, adding the first deals should be realized “quickly.” “We feel there is the desire by the new team to go quickly in its choices.”

Declining to give specific company details, he said talks in the defense sector were at an advanced stage confirming that some of those deals focused on the naval sector.

“A certain number (of armament) projects need to be finalized and we should see the consequences of that in the coming months,” he said.

Hollande was in Riyadh, his fourth visit since becoming president, at the invitation of Saudi Arabia to attend a Persian Gulf leaders summit. Over the last three years it has been nurturing its links with Persian Gulf states diplomatically and it is beginning to see commercial rewards.

France on Monday signed a $7 billion contract with Qatar for Rafale fighter jets and has already won about $15 billion of defense contracts in the region over the last year.

Fabius said other sectors included energy for which Total is interested in a solar energy deal, and a feasibility study for nuclear power.