France sells 30 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt in $ 4.5 billion deal

Egypt’s defense ministry said the sale would be funded by a loan to be repaid over at least 10 years.

In this archive photo from February 21, 2020, French Navy Rafale fighter jets are seen aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. (Reuters)

Egypt has signed a contract with France for the purchase of 30 Rafale fighter jets, worth $ 4.5 billion.

The Egyptian Defense Ministry confirmed the agreement on Monday evening in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron said in December that he would not make the sale of arms to Egypt conditional on human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo’s ability to fight terrorism in the region, a commentary which aroused the ire of critics.

Egypt’s defense ministry said the deal would be funded by a loan to be repaid over at least 10 years, but did not disclose the value of the deal or further details.

Citing confidential documents, investigative site Disclose said an agreement was reached in late April and an agreement could be sealed on Tuesday when an Egyptian delegation arrives in Paris.

The deal would give new impetus to the warplane made by Dassault after a $ 3 billion deal was finalized in January for the sale of 18 Rafales to Greece.

The Egyptian deal would also cover contracts for missile supplier MBDA and equipment supplier Safran Electronics & Defense, worth an additional € 200 million.

French ministries of finance, foreign affairs and armed forces were not immediately available for comment.

READ MORE: Human rights are not a problem for Macron when it comes to selling weapons

Criticism of human rights groups

France was Egypt’s main arms supplier between 2013 and 2017, including selling 24 fighter jets with an option for 12 more.

Those contracts dried up, including deals for more Rafale jets and warships that were at an advanced stage.

Diplomats said it had as much to do with funding issues as fears about Cairo’s long-term ability to repay state-guaranteed loans, rather than Paris’s concerns about the human rights situation. man in Egypt.

Benedicte Jeannerod, director of Human Rights Watch for France, outright denounced the agreement.

“By signing a mega-arms contract with the government (of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al) Sisi as the latter presides over the worst repression in decades in Egypt, the eradication of the human rights community in the country, and commits extremely serious violations under the pretext of the fight against terrorism, France is only encouraging this ruthless repression ”, declared Jeannerod.

READ MORE: Macron ignores human rights concerns in Egypt as Sissi visits France

Closer economic and military ties

Disclose said funding for the transaction would be up to 85% guaranteed by the French state with BNP Paribas SA, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and CIC, which funded the original deal, signing again.

Banks were not immediately available for comment.

Concerned about the political vacuum in Libya, instability in the region and the threat of extremist groups in Egypt, the two countries have cultivated closer economic and military ties since Sisi came to power.

Rights organizations have accused Macron of turning a blind eye to what they say are growing violations of freedoms by Sisi’s government.

French officials reject this and say Paris follows a policy of not openly criticizing countries on human rights in order to be more effective in private on a case-by-case basis.

READ MORE: Amnesty denounces French claims that freedom of expression

Source: Reuters




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