French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drianarrives arrivted at Egypt's Ittihadeya presidential palace to sign a military deal with his Egyptian counterpart Sedky Sobhi, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
French defence minister in Cairo to sign Rafale fighter jet deal
Tuesday ,17 February 2015
Egypt is purchasing 24 Rafale fighter jets, a naval frigate and related military equipment worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion), according to Reuters.
Le Drianhas arrived in Cairo along with a French delegation to sign the deal.
The French defence minister has condemned on Monday the killing of the 21 Copts in Libya who were abducted by Islamic State militants.
The contract would make Egypt, aiming to upgrade its military hardware amid widening regional crisis, the first export customer for the warplane, built by Dassault Aviation.
The contract is the first overseas for the Rafale, 14 years after it entered service and three years after Dassault Aviation entered exclusive negotiations to sell 126 of the combat jets to India.
The French government said last year it would slow the pace at which it takes to deliver the Rafale jets, to just 26 over the next five years instead of 11 a year.
Paris and Cairo have enjoyed close economic ties in the past but turmoil in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 left Western governments wary of signing deals, especially in defence.