France is to deliver a Fremm naval frigate to Egypt next July, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian told Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab on Tuesday, during his visit to the French capital.
Last February, Cairo sealed a multi-billion-euro deal with Paris to buy the frigate, MBDA air-to-air missiles and 24 Rafale combat jets, becoming the aircraft’s first foreign buyer, after months of failures by successive French governments to sell it.
France is keen on delivering the warship and the Dassault fighters on time, despite having signed two other contracts to sell the jets to India and Qatar over the last few months, le Drian told Mahlab, according to Egyptian state news agency MENA.
According to le Drian, an Egyptian crew is now being trained on how to work on the warship, which is planned to take part in an August ceremony to open Egypt’s new Suez Canal.
France secured its first major military contract in Egypt in about two decades in 2014, with a one-billion-euro deal for four naval frigates.
New conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Libya have recently prompted Egypt and other Gulf Arab states to upgrade their military hardware.
During the visit, Mahlab and Drain reportedly also discussed Islamist extremism, improving military ties and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as well as the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen.