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Morocco becomes France's third largest arms importer

Morocco ranked third in the world and first in the Maghreb region for acquiring French arms in 2013, France's La Tribune newspaper revealed citing a defence ministry report submitted to the French parliament on Tuesday.

The report said that Morocco had signed arms deals with France worth more than 548 million Euros in 2013.

La Tribune said that Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Morocco acquired more than half the sales of French arms last year totalling 6.87 billion Euros.

The report pointed out that Saudi Arabia ranked first in the world in the acquisition of French arms in 2013, acquiring 1.92 billion Euros worth of arms followed by Singapore acquiring more than 651 million Euros worth of arms.

The French newspaper described last year's deals as the largest in Morocco's history, saying the North African country signed two agreements with the Airbus and Thales companies specialized in the aerospace industry to buy two espionage and surveillance setlines in a deal that amounted to 500 million Euros.

The newspaper did not report on the quality of all of the weapons acquired by Morocco, but previous reports indicate that Morocco is interested in sophisticated weapons such as aircrafts, frigates and other aerial weapons.

The report addressed the importance of arms industry to revitalise the French labour market, pointing out that this market provides 50,000 jobs for French people who work either directly in manufacturing the arms or marketing them abroad.

The newly published data reveals that recent tensions between Rabat and Paris did not affect this relationship, despite the two countries suspending their cooperation agreements in the judiciary.

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