The deal, which had been negotiated for the better part of a year, was thrown into doubt earlier this week when it became clear that the UAE had asked for details on a rival aircraft, the Typhoon built by the Eurofighter consortium.
"Thanks to President (Nicolas) Sarkozy, France could not have done more diplomatically or politically to secure the Rafale deal," Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Deputy of the country's Armed Forces, said in a statement, adding that Sarkozy's "personal intervention in this process has sustained Dassault at the forefront of our considerations."
"Regrettably Dassault seem unaware that all the diplomatic and political will in the world cannot overcome uncompetitive and unworkable commercial terms," he said.
"Rather than using the strength of the bilateral relationship to close the deal out Dassault is attempting to use it to hold out on pricing and a deal structure that hasn't changed in more than a year and that has been significantly bettered by all competitors," a source close to the deal said.
French Air Chief General Jean-Paul Palomeros had told Reuters on Monday that the UAE Air Force was "very keen with Rafale".
France is struggling to secure a foreign buyer for the aircraft, which is more developed than 4th generation combat aircraft but lags behind 5th generation multi-role fighters such as Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II.
The UAE has pressed for the aircraft's engines to be upgraded with extra thrust and for better radar, industry sources have said, but Palomeros said UAE officials are satisfied with the plane.
Photo: A Rafale fighter jet performs during the first day of this week’s Dubai Air Show (Reuters)