The Egyptian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Tuesday that Egypt had signed a contract with France to buy 30 “Rafale” fighter jets.
She added that the deal will be funded through a “financing loan with a minimum duration of 10 years,” but she did not disclose the value of the deal or further details.
Investigative website Disclose said on Monday that the deal was worth 3.75 billion euros (4.5 billion dollars).
And the French President, Emmanuel Macron, said last December that he would not make the sale of weapons to Egypt conditional on the human rights file because he did not want to weaken Cairos ability to combat terrorism in the region, a comment that angered Macron’s critics.
Disclose, citing confidential documents, said that an agreement was struck at the end of April and may sign the deal on Tuesday when an Egyptian delegation arrives in Paris.
This deal will represent another push for the “Rafale” warplane manufactured by “Dassault” after the completion of an agreement concluded in January, worth 2.5 billion euros, to sell 18 aircraft to Greece.
The military spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces, Tamer Al-Rifai, confirmed in a statement posted on Facebook that Egypt and France signed a contract to supply 30 Rafale aircraft, “provided that the concluded contract is funded through a financing loan of a minimum period of 10 years.”
The statement added: “(Rafale) aircraft are distinguished by high combat capabilities that include the ability to carry out long-range missions, in addition to their possession of an advanced armament system, high maneuverability, and the multiplicity of their weapons systems, in addition to their distinction of an advanced electronic warfare system that enables them to be able to Carrying out all the tasks entrusted to it efficiently and efficiently. “
The Egyptian agreement also includes contracts with the missile industry “MBDE” and “Safran” for electronics and defense, worth another 200 million euros.
France was the main supplier of weapons to Egypt between 2013-2017, including the sale of 24 warplanes with an option of 12 more. Those contracts stopped, including those related to deals that were in an advanced stage related to the supply of more “Rafale” aircraft and warships.
Diplomats said that was related to financing issues, concerns about Cairos long-term ability to repay state-guaranteed loans, not Paris’s concerns about the human rights situation in Egypt.
Benedict Janeiro, director of the “Human Rights Watch” office in France, openly condemned the deal, and criticized the French government for turning a blind eye to what her organization describes as the Egyptian government’s violation of human rights and freedoms.
Janeiro told Reuters news agency : “Signing a large arms contract with the government of (Egyptian President Abdel Fattah) El-Sisi while leading the worst crackdown in decades in Egypt, wiping out the human rights community in the country, and committing serious violations under the pretext of fighting terrorism, is France’s encouragement for this brutal repression.”
The “Disclose” website said that financing the deal will be guaranteed by up to 85 percent from the French state, along with banks, “BNP Paribas”, “Credit Agricole”, “Societe Generale” and “CIC”, which funded the original deal.
Given the concern about the political vacuum in Libya, instability across the region, and the threats of jihadist groups in Egypt, the two countries have forged closer economic and military ties since the Egyptian president took power.
Various human rights organizations accused the French President Macron of ignoring what they described as the increasing violations of freedoms in Egypt by the Sisi government.
French officials reject the accusation, and say Paris follows a policy of not publicly criticizing states about human rights in order to be more effective in private discussions on a case-by-case basis.