France, Egypt agree on arms deal: Source
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:10PM
France and Egypt have reached an agreement, under which the North African country's military-backed government will receive Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets, an informed French source says.
The source told the French newspaper Le Monde that Paris and Cairo had initialed the deal worth USD 5.7 billion on Thursday, confirming that "there is an agreement' over the issue.
The French daily further noted that the official signing is set for February 16 by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and possibly French President François Hollande or French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The deal reportedly includes 24 Rafale jets as well as a Fremm naval frigate and MBDA air-to-air missiles.
The agreement makes Egypt the first export customer for the French Rafale, which is a twin-engine delta-wing fighter aircraft with semi-stealth capabilities.
There has been no official confirmation from either French or Egyptian authorities over the military hardware deal.
France and Egypt have been negotiating over the issue since a November 2014 state visit by the Egyptian president.
The development comes as Egypt has been the scene of massive anti-government protests with continuous clashes between security forces and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president, was ousted in July 2013 in a military coup led by led by Sisi, the then head of the Egyptian army.
Rights groups say the army's crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has left over 1,400 people dead and 22,000 arrested, while dozens have been sentenced to death in mass trials.
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