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's new parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a defence loan agreement with France, aiming to boost the powers of the former country’s armed forces.
A parliamentary report explained that the agreement is between Egypt's defence ministry and a number of French banks led by Credit Agricole for Companies and Investment.
"These banks will provide a cash loan of 3375.54 million euros, representing 60 per cent of the value of French military equipment that will be delivered to Egypt," the report stated.
"The total value of this equipment is estimated at 5625.9 million euros, with Egypt to pay the remaining 40 per cent," the report also revealed.
The loan will be guaranteed by Egypt's finance ministry.
Spokespersons from most political parties in the parliament said that MPs approved the loan agreement, stating that it is be necessary to boost the military powers of Egypt's army.
Alaa Abed, the spokesman of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said that the party has high hopes that the agreement would help the armed forces do its job fighting terrorism in North Sinai and safeguard the country's borders.
Sameh Seif Al-Yazal, an MP and a former intelligence officer, said that "as far as I know this equipment aims to beef up the army's powers against terrorist groups in the Sinai peninsula."
Saad Al-Gammal, an independent MP, thanked France for stepping up cooperation with Egypt in areas of defence.
Meanwhile, many MPs from the border governorates of North Sinai and Matrouh urged the parliament to send delegations to visit the two governorates inorder to listen to the needs of the people living there
MP Nemaat Rashad said "Sinai is going through hard times and every day a police or army officer is being killed at the hands of terrorists. Parliament should hurry up and send a delegation to Sinai to explore what is going on there."
The parliament’s speaker Ali Abdel-Al approved three parliamentary delegations to visit the governorates of North Sinai, Matrouh, and the Red Sea.
"These delegations must compile reports on what is going on Egypt's eastern, western and southern borders," Abdel-Al said.