France concludes €5.2bn arms deal with Egypt (IT)

February 16th, 2015 Print Print Email Email

France’s defence minister signed a €5.2-billion arms deal with Egypt on Monday, hours after the Egyptian air force bombarded Islamic State targets in Libya.

President François Hollande telephoned Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the morning to “renew the expression of his solidarity” after Islamic State apparently decapitated 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach near Tripoli. The two leaders agreed to make a joint appeal to the UN Security Council to meet to discuss IS’s territorial gains.

Mr Hollande and defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian both spoke of “the confidence that exists between France and Egypt”.

The arms contract, which includes 24 Rafale fighter bombers, one frigate, air-to-air missiles and cruise missiles, was negotiated in a record five months due to anxieties over the rise of jihadist groups in Libya and the Sinai desert.

“In the present context, it is very important that Egypt enjoy security and to be able to act for stability,” Mr Hollande said.

“Libya is just the other side of the Mediterranean, very close to us,” Mr Le Drian said before leaving for Cairo. “We must be very vigilant and ally ourselves with coalition countries like Egypt.”

France used the Rafale to help overthrow Muammar Gadafy in Libya in 2011, and to bomb Islamist targets in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali. This is the first foreign sale of the plane, whose production represents 7,000 jobs in France.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates provided Egypt’s €500-million down payment. French banks loaned the remainder, with a French government guarantee.

The arms sale consolidates the shift in Egypt’s strategic alliances, which began when the US abandoned former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. France and Russia – Egypt’s allies until the 1970s – have stepped into the void.

The Egyptian military was angered by Washington’s dialogue with president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who succeeded Mubarak. Washington temporarily stopped €1.8 billion in annual military aid when Mr al-Sisi overthrew Mr Morsi in July 2013.

  1. walwa
    | #1

    On the eve of the historical 40th Anniversary of Lekatit 11 the city of Mekelle was buzzing all day. On top of the hundreds of thousand residents who crowd the city every day the city was also warmed and graced by thousands of invited guest. Government officials and foreign dignitaries have been arriving all day traveling with Ethiopian Airlines for free. Non-Tigrayans Ethiopians who needed some intimidation in private were ordered to go to Tigrai by TPLF.
    Many foreigners are starting to recognize Tigrai as an independent country in the making.
    The city also saw a parade along the main city roads and in front of the martyr’s monument. The week-long bicycle tournament tour ended today.

    In the afternoon there was a procession to honor all those who died during the 17 year long armed struggle. The procession started in the old Royal House and ended in the newly designated martyr cemetery in the vast compound of the Martyr Monument.

    Ato Tewodros Hagos adviser to the president and leader of the organizing committee told Aigaforum a key part of the 40th Anniversary celebration is the formal burial ceremony for all Martyrs. The City of Mekelle was selected to honor a selected 40 former TPLF martyr representing all Martyrs in the presence of Federal officials. Ato Tewdros said similar ceremonies were held all over Tigrai and a special Martyr Cemetery was designated in every locality of Tigrai.

  2. Darewos
    | #2

    The 4oth anniversary of the TPLF would better be celebrated by its founder and former master, the EPLF. The EPLF had used the Tigrayans as cannon fodder and attained its goal of Eritrean independence through the sacrifices of tens thousands of the poor farmers and youth of Tigray. The Tigrayan casualities were very high because the EPLF used them in the front lines of the major battles fought in Eritrea. The other reason for the high casuality was that the EPLF cared less about the lives of its Tigrayan fighters. This is also the crime of the Eritrean TPLF leaders that recruited the Tigrayans and offered them to their EPLF masters. The slave-master relationship between the Eritreans and Tigrayans had cost the latter a lot. Therefore, the abused and despised Tigrayans do not have any reason than ethnic affiliations to celebrate this anniversary. The TPLF leadership is still Eritrean and the Tigrayans are their foot soldiers.

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