French delegation arrives in Egypt ahead of French PM visit

Ahram Online , Saturday 10 Oct 2015

The French embassy's media office told Ahram Online Wednesday that the French prime minister is to discuss economic projects and sign deals with his Egyptian counterpart

French PM
File Photo: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (Photo: Reuters)

A French delegation consisting of 63 diplomats and journalists arrived in Cairo Friday night ahead of the official visit by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls Saturday, the state owned MENA news agency reported.

Valls is expected to meet President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

The French embassy's media office told Ahram Online Wednesday that the French prime minister is to discuss economic projects and sign deals with his Egyptian counterpart.

The French minister of defence will be accompanying the prime minister on his 24-hour visit to Egypt. MENA reported that among the deals to be signed are ones related to the military.

The French presidency said in a statement Wednesday that Egypt agreed in late September to buy two Mistral warships that France had built for Russia before scrapping the sale over the Ukraine crisis. No deals have yet been reached. 

Ismail and Valls will hold a press conference late Saturday in Cairo following talks and the signing of the deals.

The French embassy said on its official website that “This movement will strengthen economic ties and will allow the prime minister to support the presence of French companies in the Middle East.”

Paris and Cairo have enjoyed close economic ties in the past but the turmoil that followed the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011 left Western governments wary of signing deals, especially ones pertaining to defence.

In February, Egypt announced a 5.2 billion Euro deal to buy 24 French Rafale jet fighters.

That same month Egypt signed a contract with the French company VINCI Bouygues Travaux Public to complete the construction of the fourth phase of Cairo’s third metro line.

French officials from the country’s development agency, who attended Egypt’s economic development conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in March, announced that the agency will provide a 40 million Euro sovereign loan to finance a power plant in Kom Ombo in Upper Egypt.

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