- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The United Arab Emirates and France are closing in on the nations’ first defense deal involving spy satellites, but major sticking points in negotiations weren’t resolved until a key issue involving the export of U.S. technology was reached.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to finalize the Falcon Eye spy satellites deal within weeks. The contract includes the purchase of 40 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, a source close to the negotiations told Defense News on Monday.

The $930 million agreement, first signed in July 2013, stalled due to UAE’s objection in January to U.S.-supplied components that could conceivably give third-party access to data, and then a later UAE demand for an export license for U.S. satellite components in June.

Defense News reported that while there were delays in getting the U.S. export license, it ultimately was granted.

“We’re on the right track,” an Airbus Defense and Space spokesman told the defense website. “The lights are green.”

The company is the primary contractor for the purchase of two high-resolution Pleiades military observation satellites.

“A new contract has been drawn up, all the companies must sign, and that signing is expected to take a couple of weeks,” an industry executive told Defense News. “The bottles of champagne have been put on ice for the celebrations.”

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