Egypt to sign 1 bln euro French arms deals: La Tribune

Ayat Al Tawy , Wednesday 23 Mar 2016

The French news site La Tribune has reported that Cairo and Paris are close to signing a 1 bln deal worth of military purchases during a forthcoming visit by French President Hollande

Hollande welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Reuters)
File photo: French President Francois Hollande welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Nov. 26, 2014. (Reuters)

Egypt is set to sign 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) worth of deals with France in mid-April to purchase warships and a military satellite, French news website La Tribune reported on Tuesday.

The deals are expected to be signed during French President Francois Hollande's upcoming visit on April 18.

One of the expected contracts will see French naval shipbuilder DCNS build four naval vessels, including two Gowind corvettes, the newspaper reported. The value of this contract is estimated at between 300 and 400 million euros. DCNS, which is mostly owned by the French state, has already sold four small Gowinds to Cairo in 2014.

As part of another deal worth around 600 million euros, Airbus Space Systems (part of European planemaker Airbus Group), and defence group Thales will jointly supply Cairo with a military telecommunication satellite.

The deals are part of Cairo's efforts to boost its military hardware in the face of a militant insurgency in parts of North Sinai as well as the country's fears of a spillover of violence from neighbouring Libya.

It was initially reported that Egypt was in talks to buy two French military satellites, but the newspaper claimed that Cairo found the bill too expensive, with Russia and South Korea providing cheaper offers.

In February 2015, Cairo signed a multi-billion euro deal to purchase 24 Rafale fighters, a frigate and missiles from France. Six of the multi-role combat jets have already been delivered by Paris to Cairo.

Earlier in March, Egypt and France conducted joint military exercise in the Mediterranean in which the Rafale warplanes that were purchased by Cairo last year took part.

In October 2015, the two countries signed another deal for the sale of two French Mistral helicopter carriers whose sale to Russia was cancelled by Paris due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

According to La Tribune, the first Mistral will land in Egypt in June.

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