French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (Photo: Reuters)
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said on Sunday that "advanced" talks with Egypt were being conducted over a potential sale of Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter jets.
"There are actually pretty advanced discussions with Egypt, but they're not over," Le Drian told television station iTele.
Le Drian's comments confirmed what was told to Reuters by two sources close to the matter on Saturday -- that Egypt was discussing the purchase of 24 Rafale jets and a Fremme frigate from the French defence company, in a deal estimated at 5 billion euros ($5.7 - 6.8 billion).
Also on Saturday, Dassault's CEO, Eric Trappier, told Le Figaro daily the company was close to signing its first Rafale export contract, without specifying a country.
There were "still several steps to cross" regarding a sale to Egypt, Trappier said separately.