RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Tuesday 22 January 2013
Last update 22 January 2013 4:33 pm
French Minister of Industry Arnaud Montebourg said his two-day visit to Riyadh and the talks with Saudi officials on the peaceful use of nuclear energy have been fruitful.
France called for the establishment of a joint investment fund with the Kingdom to achieve industrial projects and exchange of technology.
The minister had aimed to enhance cooperation in the fields of domestic nuclear industry.
The volume of French trade exchange with the Kingdom in 2011 amounted to SR 43 billion. The value of Saudi exports to France reached SR 25 billion, and the value of Saudi imports was SR 18 billion.
He also said that his visit to the Kingdom would be followed by the visit of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
In 2011, an agreement between France and Saudi Arabia was signed to offer atomic know-how and training for local staff in the Kingdom.
Montebourg announced that during his visit, a $ 400 million (SR 1,500 million) contract was signed with the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) to launch the sixth generation satellite.
The new satellite Badr-7 will be co-located at Arabsat’s exclusive Hot Spot 26°E with Arabsat’s other Badr satellites. Badr-7 will provide large satellite capacities for television broadcasting, telecommunications and information exchange services.
The consortium of Astrium and Thales Alenia Space will manufacture Badr-7. Arianespace will launch the satellite. The new satellite will cover the Middle East, Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
Saudi Arabia is considering building 17 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, says King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) on its website.
“Saudi Arabia will only deploy the most advanced and thoroughly tested technologies, paying maximum attention to safety, security and safeguards of the highest international standards,” KA-CARE said on its website.