Sarkozy 'confident' on jet sale to Brazil
France is confident Brazil will buy its Rafale fighter jets, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday after discussing the deal with the Brazilian president and president-elect.
"I remain confident" about the sale, Sarkozy told a press conference as the G20 summit of rich and emerging nations ended in the South Korean capital. But "the decision is down to the Brazilians", he added.
Sarkozy earlier Friday met Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and president-elect Dilma Rousseff and he confirmed the Rafales were discussed.
The Rafale, made by Dassault, has yet to clinch a single overseas sale. It is in competition for the Brazilian deal with Sweden's Gripen NG, built by Saab, and the F/A-18 Super Hornet, manufactured by US giant Boeing.
The deal for 36 fighter planes is estimated to be worth between four and seven billion dollars, depending on details of armaments, maintenance and peripheral industrial involvement.
Brazil has made technology transfer the main priority in the tender, so it can produce fighter aircraft itself and boost its aviation industry. Lula said in 2009 the Rafale deal would be more advantageous in this respect.
Lula has indicated he would make a choice after the Seoul summit and following discussions with his successor, who takes power in January.
© 2010 AFP