France has agreed to sell 30 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, as per the sources, on Monday, confirming an online report of a secret mega-defense deal.
The Cairo has ordered over 30 additional Dassault Rafale fighters, in a follow up to its previous acquisition of 24.
The first Ordeals
Egypt took a delivery of three Rafale fighter jets from France, the first of 24 warplanes purchased as part of a nearly $6 billion deal that also included an advanced frigate and munitions.
The deal consisted of three distinct contracts, by far the biggest being the 3.75-billion-euro ($5.52 billion) purchase of 30 Rafale fighter jets from French producer Dassault.
Investigative site Disclose, citing confidential documents it had obtained, said the deal was signed on April 26 at the behest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as a part of defense contracts worth almost four billion euros.
Both the French defense ministry and Dassault however have denied to comment, but a government source, who asked not to be named, said: “Very advanced discussions have taken place with Egypt and the announcements could come very soon.”Egypt has procured a loan guaranteed by France to make the purchases.
Rafale- A success story
France regards Egypt as one its key clients of its defense industry. Egypt was the first foreign country to purchase the Rafale jets in 2015, buying 24.
Purchases made by Qatar, India and Greece have turned the plane into one of France’s main defense industry successes.
The exclusive deal originally came in the wake of a hugely contentious state visit to Paris by Sissi in December hosted by President Emmanuel Macron.
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attended a joint press conference at the Elysee palace, Monday, December 7th, 2020 in Paris.
Macron decorated Sisi with France’s highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, during the visit. That enraged activists who had asked him not to roll out the red carpet but instead to raise concern over the estimated 60,000 political prisoners languishing in Egyptian prisons.
The French president has also ruled out making France’s deepening defense and trade ties with Egypt conditional on the issue of rights.
“I think it is more effective to have a policy of dialogue than a policy of boycott which would reduce the effectiveness of one of our partners in the fight against terrorism and for regional stability,” Macron mentioned.
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