Sarkozy to receive Kuwait's prime minister
Published: 13:31 April 11, 2010
French-Kuwaiti deal for purchase of French fighter planes expected to top the agenda of meeting between French president and Kuwaiti premier
Manama: French President Nicolas Sarkozy will receive Kuwait's Prime Minister Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah on Friday, the Elysee has announced
The French leader's timetable showed a slot on Friday for the meeting with the Kuwaiti premier in Paris, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.
Sarkozy is heading to Washington on Monday to take part in a summit on nuclear proliferation, the agenda said.
No official statement was issued about the talks at the meeting, but the French-Kuwaiti deal for the purchase of French Rafale fighters is expected to figure high on the agenda.
The deal has been vehemently opposed by Kuwaiti MPs representing Reform and Development Bloc who claimed that it was "suspicious."
"The bloc reiterates its firm opposition to this suspicious deal, especially in light of information that the latest technical reports have recommended the rejection of the deal," the four Islamist MPs who have been campaigning against the agreement purchase of Rafale combat aircraft said last month.
Sarkozy during a tour of Gulf countries in 2008 said that discussions had begun with Kuwait to sell up to 28 Rafales, the twin-engined jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation.
Last month, French Senator Philippe Marini said that France wanted to deepen cooperation with Kuwait.
"I think that we have long neglected the capacities of Kuwait, and since the beginning of the mandate of President (Nicolas) Sarkozy we have re-approached relations with the countries of the Middle East, and especially with Kuwait. We consider that it is indispensable that we have good and confident relations with Kuwait," Marini, the chairman of the inter-parliamentary and friendship group between France and the GCC countries, said.
Kuwait and France can boost ties and cooperation in several fields, particularly defense, energy, and the economy, he said.
"I hope we shall be able to progress more and more, and to commit reciprocally in order to have a long-term strategy," he told KUNA.