PARIS - France and Saudi Arabia plan to sign $12 billion of deals on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters during a visit by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in deals highlighting Paris' growing commercial ties in the Middle East.
The contracts include 23 Airbus H145 helicopters worth $500 million, Fabius told reporters. The H145, previously known as the EC145, is a light twin-engined helicopter typically used for emergency services or border patrols. A military version is used by the U.S. Army.
The Saudi defence minister said he was still discussing the price for a contract for French naval patrol boats, built by DCNS. Saudi Arabia also plans to sign a feasibility study for two EPR reactors built by Areva, Fabius added.
The contracts, the latest to be agreed between Paris and a Gulf Arab state, come after French President Francois Hollande was invited by Gulf Arab leaders in May to address their summit in Saudi Arabia, a rare privilege for a foreign head of state.