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A French Rafale fighter jet takes off from the flight deck of the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane De Sakutin/Pool


PARIS (Reuters) - France has offered Belgium a deal to purchase Dassault Aviation's Rafale war planes, the French Defence ministry said on Thursday, as Brussels seeks to replace 34 of its Lockheed Martin's F-16 planes.

"The Defence minister, Florence Parly, has offered the Belgian Defence minister to setup an in-depth partnership between our two countries in order to respond to the need expressed by the Belgian air force," the ministry said.

Dassault Aviation had no immediate comment.

(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Richard Lough)

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