French arms export orders up 43% in 2013: ministry

A picture taken on June 11, 2012 shows a visitor looking at a French Panhard CRAB (Combat Reconnaissance Armoured Buggy) at the Eurosatory 2012 defence and security exhibition in Villepinte near ParisExport orders for French weapons rose by 43 percent last year, according to a new report by the defence minister, who insisted this “exceptional” result showed France was a reliable partner for arms sales. “In 2013, the orders for arms exports rose 43 percent to 6.87 billion euros ($8.84 billion),” said the defence ministry. These job are “vitally important” in a country that is “hit by unemployment and threatened with de-industrialisation,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday. The report came amid fears that France’s reputation as a reliable weapons exporter could be damaged by its decision to freeze the delivery of a Mistral-class warship to Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

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