The United Arab Emirates provided troops to NATO for the war in Afghanistan and warplanes to NATO for the 2011 war against Libya. In the same year it became the first Arab country to open an embassy at NATO headquarters in Brussels. In 2009 the Nicholas Sarkozy government opened the first French military based in the Persian Gulf at Abu Dhabi in the UAE, with air, naval and land components.
France will help the United Arab Emirates (UAE), its major ally in the Gulf, to secure their airspace, said French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, on Friday February 4.
“In order to show our solidarity with this friendly country, France has decided to provide military support, in particular to protect their airspace against any intrusion,” she said on her Twitter account.
The French minister did not give more details about the exact nature of the military support that France will provide to the UAE, but she said that the Rafale fighters of the French mission in Abu Dhabi “participate alongside the UAE armed forces in monitoring, detection and interception tasks if necessary.”
The UAE and France had reached a huge deal, announced last December, according to which Abu Dhabi would buy 80 advanced Rafale fighters from Paris.
These agreements were announced following a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in the UAE at the time, with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.