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Egypt and France sign Rafale jet fighters deal

The signing ceremony was attended by Egyptian President El-Sisi

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Feb 2015
 Jean-Yves Le Drian
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (Photo: Reuters)
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In a nationally-televised ceremony, Egypt and France signed on Monday evening a deal whereby Cairo purchased 24 French Rafale jet fighters

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drianarrives had arrivted at Egypt's Ittihadeya presidential palace in Cairo to seal the deal with his Egyptian counterpart Sedky Sobhi.

The ceremony was attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and top Egyptian army generals.

The deal- which includes 24 Rafale fighter jets, a naval frigate and related military equipment- is worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion).

Meanwhile, France condemned on Monday the killing of 21 Copts in Libya by Islamic State militants.

The contract would make Egypt, which aims to upgrade its military hardware amid widening regional crisis, the first export customer for the warplane, built by Dassault Aviation.

The contract is the first overseas for the Rafale, 14 years after it entered service and three years after Dassault Aviation entered exclusive negotiations to sell 126 of the combat jets to India.

Paris and Cairo have enjoyed close economic ties in the past but turmoil in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 left Western governments wary of signing deals, especially in defence.

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