Egypt’s Defense Ministry confirmed the deal in a Twitter post on Monday.
Similar large-scale military contracts with Egypt have failed in the past, apparently more due to concerns about Egypt’s ability to pay for equipment rather than concerns about its human rights record.
Originally reported by the French online news site Disclose, the 3.75 billion euros ($ 4.5 billion) deal was reportedly concluded at the end of April and could be signed when an Egyptian delegation arrives in the city on Tuesday French capital.
According to Disclose, this time around 85% of the loans linked to the operation will be guaranteed by the French state as well as by the banks BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and CIC.
The French position on human rights in Egypt
The news has been decried by human rights defenders.
Benedicte Jeannerod, director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) France declared: “By signing a mega-arms contract with the government of el-Sisi as the latter presides over the worst repression in decades in Egypt, the he 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. ”
French President Emmanuel Macron angered human rights defenders last year by rolling out the red carpet for el-Sisi rather than raising the issue of around 60,000 political prisoners in the country. Macron awarded the Egyptian president the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest distinction in France.
In addition, Macron has said he will not make the sale of military equipment subordinate to human rights. He argued that this would tie al-Sisi’s hands in the fight against regional terrorism, especially in neighboring Libya and against jihadist groups in Egypt itself.
French arms exports to the world
Egypt was the first country to buy the new Rafale in 2015, when it ordered 24. It is one of the biggest defense customers in France.
The additional sale of equipment from missile maker MBDA and Safran Electronics and Defense would represent an additional € 200 million.
The fighter jet deal follows a € 2.5 billion sale to Greece in January.
The Rafale aircraft, which has also been sold to India and Qatar, is one of France’s most successful defense export products.
js / rt (AFP, Reuters)