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Egyptian, French defence ministers stress strong bilateral military ties

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Apr 2016
Sisi and Hollande
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (rear R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande look on during a ceremony marking the signing of several economic agreements at al-Quba Presidential Palace, in Cairo, Egypt April 17, 2016 (Photo: Courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt’s Defence Minister Sedki Sobhy and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed the strong ties and military cooperation between the two countries during an inspection visit to an Egyptian air base on Monday.

The visit to the base, which hosts a number of Rafale jet fighters purchased by Egypt last year came on the sidelines of a two-day visit by French President Francois Hollande to Cairo during which the two countries signed deals worth about 2 billion euros.

The Egyptian minister stressed the strong military ties between both countries, highlighting France’s “backing for Egypt’s people and its armed forced in the fight against terrorism” as well as cooperation in bolstering the capabilities of the Egyptian military, the army said in a statement late on Monday.

Le Drian was quoted in the statement as saying that “Egypt and France are one thing. This is a message that we want to stress."

The deals signed by the two states included a military telecommunication satellite which is expected to be built by France's Airbus Space Systems and Thales Alenia Space,  the French president's office said.

Egypt has recently become a major market for France's military hardware, becoming the first foreign buyer of French Rafale fighter jets in 2015. 

Cairo signed a multi-billion euro deal in February 2015 to purchase 24 of the warplanes, a frigate and missiles from France. Six of the multi-role combat jets have already been delivered by Paris to Cairo. It also purchased two Mistral helicopter carriers.

Earlier in March, Egypt and France conducted a joint military exercise in the Mediterranean in which the Rafale warplanes took part.

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