“Egypt and France have signed a supply contract for 30 Rafale planes,” said the Egyptian press release a few hours after the revelation of this contract by the French investigative media Disclose. The press release specifies that the purchase will be made via a ten-year loan. The purchase will be made via a ten-year loan, adds the Egyptian army in its press release, without further clarification.
Cairo is one of the biggest clients of the French arms industry. Egypt was, in 2015, the first foreign country to buy Rafale, with an order for 24 fighter jets. Arms sales to Egypt increased considerably after Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014, mainly between 2014 and 2016 through the sale of Rafale, a frigate, four corvettes and two Mistral helicopter carriers.
The sale announced this week confirms the late but real export success of the French combat aircraft. Also ordered by Qatar (36) and India (36), it was sold in January to Greece in 18 copies, including twelve used.
A 3.95 billion euros contract
According to details unveiled by Disclose on Monday, France and Egypt on April 26 entered into a contract worth € 3.95 billion, including the sale of thirty Rafale fighter jets, as well as two other contracts to the benefit of the MBDA missile and Safran Electronics and Defense. Disclose also indicated that the payments from Egypt would be made “mainly on credit” and that Cairo had “obtained a loan guaranteed by France to the tune of 85%”. According to the investigative media, “the Public Treasury has given guarantees to several French banking establishments” -Credit agricole, Société Générale, BNP Paribas and CIC- to allow the loan.
Abdel Fattah al-Sissi was received in December 2020 in Paris. A visit decried by human rights organizations which regularly accuse Egypt of violating individual freedoms and in particular of limiting freedom of expression. Since coming to power in 2014, the Egyptian state has led a fierce repression against any form of opposition, religious or liberal. But Emmanuel Macron refused, in December, to condition the question of human rights to the strategic partnership between Paris and Cairo, while pleading for a “democratic opening” and “an active civil society”.
Egyptian imports of French armaments amounted to 7.7 billion euros between 2010 and 2019, making Cairo the fourth client country of France in terms of armaments, according to the annual report to the French Parliament.
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