Egypt, France sign fighter jets deal

Monday 16-02-2015 08:16 PM
Egypt, France sign fighter jets deal

A Rafale jet fighter is seen on the assembly line in the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France, January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


CAIRO, Feb 16 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt sealed a deal with France in Cairo on Monday which would see the former buy two dozen fighter jets and a multi-mission frigate.

The two countries' Defence Ministers signed the deal, which is worth 5.2 billion euros, according to Egypt's state-run news agency MENA.    

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived on Monday for the signing, which was attended by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 

During talks with Egyptian counterpart Sedki Sobhi, Le Drian said France supports Egypt in "its fight against extremist and terrorist forces threatening the region," state-run news agency MENA reported.

The signing of the deal comes hours after Egypt launched airstrikes against militant targets in Libya in response to the beheadings of 21 Egyptians at the hands of men believed to belong to a Libyan division of the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria group.

The Rafale fighter jets Egypt is buying are produced by Dassault Aviation, a French aircraft manufacturer.  

French President Francois Hollande announced the deal last Thursday in a statement. He said the deal will "allow Egypt to increase its security and play a full role in the service of regional stability."

The French president added that this is the first export contract of Rafale jets.

President and CEO of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier thanked the French authorities in a statement on the same day. He said they "were behind the Rafale programme, and have provided the political support, without which we cannot make any military exports."

Le Drian had held talks on security and the "importance of efforts to combat terrorist organisations" with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri on February 7.  

France announced its condemnation of the beheadings of the Egyptian nationals earlier on Monday.

Together, Egypt and France called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss possible new measures that can be taken regarding the Islamic State fighters, after a phone call today between the two countries' presidents.

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