PARIS: France has agreed to sell 30 more Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, a source familiar with the contract said on Monday, confirming an online report on a secret mega-defense deal.
The investigation site Disclose, citing confidential documents it had obtained, said the agreement was signed on April 26 at the request of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi under contracts to defend a worth nearly four billion euros ($ 4.8 billion).
He said the deal consisted of three separate contracts, the largest by far being the € 3.75 billion purchase of 30 Rafale fighter jets from French producer Dassault. Two contracts were also awarded to MBDA and Safran Electronics and Defense, both of which produce missile equipment. The total volume of transactions was thus 3.95 billion euros, he said.
A source close to the contract, who asked not to be named, confirmed to AFP that Egypt had ordered 30 more fighter jets but did not give details on the cost.
Contacted by AFP, the French Defense Ministry and Dassault declined to comment, but a government source, who asked not to be named, said: “Very advanced discussions have taken place with Egypt and announcements could come very soon “.
Disclose said the financial part of the deal was being signed on Monday, with Egypt securing a loan guaranteed by France to make the purchases.
France sees Egypt as a key customer for its defense industry. Egypt was the first foreign country to purchase Rafale jets in 2015, purchasing 24.
Purchases by Qatar, India and Greece made the aircraft one of the main French successes in the defense industry. Disclose noted that the deal came following a hugely controversial state visit to Paris by Sissi in December hosted by President Emmanuel Macron.
Egypt and France have increasingly close relations under the secular regime of former army general Sisi, with common interests in the Middle East and a common suspicion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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