PARIS, May 6 (KUNA) -- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday stressed the close ties between France and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, following an invitation by the Gulf States to President Francois Hollande to attend the GCC "Consultative" Summit in Saudi Arabia on May 5.
Hollande, in an honorary gesture, was the first head of state to attend a GCC Summit since 1980 and Fabius said this particularly impressed France and attested to the close ties with the GCC.
"It was very see that these six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council were hosting for the first time since 1980 a foreign President - the French President," Fabius said on "Europe 1" radio.
"There, you had all the Gulf countries saying France is credible," he added, noting this demonstrated that France had indeed an "Arab Policy".
Fabius underlined that France's aims in the region were firstly "peace and security" and Hollande and himself had heard the concerns of the GCC nations on issues like Iran and the controversial nuclear talks that are due to end in an agreement on June 30.
"We want to have an agreement with Iran but this agreement must be solid, robust, credible, or else it will end up paradoxically with nuclear proliferation in this whole region," the Foreign Minister said.
"The objective is that Iran can perfectly do civil nuclear research, but the atomic bomb, no," he warned.
He said talks were ongoing with the United States on this issue and he would be further discussing it with US Secretary-of-State John Kerry next Friday in Paris, when the US official is also to meet with GCC Foreign Ministers ahead of the GCC-US Summit meetings with President Barack Obama in Camp David next week.
Despite any differences in the negotiations with Iran, where France has taken a tough stance on Iranian guarantees, sanctions and monitoring of its programmes, Fabius remarked that France and the US were working together.
"We are discussing...each has its policy but we are allies and friends with the Americans, this should not be forgotten," he stated.
Concerning economic ties with Gulf States, Fabius said that discussions in Saudi Arabia were positive during his visit there and there were around 20 projects being looked at with a potential value of "several tens of billions of Euros" for contracts in the sectors of defence, transport, health and "lots of things in the energy domain".
He said there would be a first review of these projects with Saudi Arabia in June and a second progress report in October and a forthcoming joint-forum.
Fabius and Hollande visited Qatar before going to Saudi Arabia and particularly were present for the signature of a contract for 24 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft to Doha for a value of around USD 7.0 billion.
It is the third recent contract for the French fighter-bomber, coming after the sale of 36 to India and 24 to Egypt.
Fabius said earlier that talks with the UAE for sale of the Rafale were "going in the right direction" and asked by "Europe 1" if he believed there would be a future sale of Rafale to the UAE, he replied in the affirmative.
"Yes," he maintained, "never three without four," a reference to the number of contracts for Rafale so far. (End)