France sets up special arms sales task force

25th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 October 2007, MARRAKECH, Morocco (AFP) - France has set up a special arms sales task force to react rapidly to any opportunity to sell the country's weapons, a presidential envoy said Wednesday.

25 October 2007

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AFP) - France has set up a special arms sales task force to react rapidly to any opportunity to sell the country's weapons, a presidential envoy said Wednesday.

"We have to take political and military decisions very quickly and deals need to be made as a matter of urgency," said a senior Elysees official.

France is the world's second largest arms exporter at 7.9 billion dollars (5.5 billion euros), second only to the United States at 12.9 billion dollars. Russia comes third with sales of 5.6 billion dollars.

Sarkozy set up what has become known as the "war room" a few months ago to swiftly put together attractive arms sales packages.

It comprises the president, his prime minister and the ministers of defence, finance and foreign affairs, together with the commander in chief of the army and a senior Elysee official.

Sarkozy had understood the need to copy the American approach of putting together rapid arms deals tailor-made to each situation and to use arms sales as a means of entering markets, said the official.

News of the "rapid response" unit came as France admitted defeat in its effort to sell its Rafale fighter jet to Morocco at the end of a visit there by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Rabat has decided to buy American F-16s instead.

The Rafale warplane, built by Dassault, is still to find a buyer outside of the French military after 13 years of fruitless marketing.

AFP

Subject: French news

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