Middle East

Egypt buys 30 Rafale jets from France: Military

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s military has confirmed it ordered 30 Rafale jets from French defence firm Dassault Aviation to shore up national security.

The order, which follows the 2015 purchase of 24 Rafale jets, will be financed through a 10-year loan, the military said in a statement late on Monday (May 3).

Investigative site Disclose had reported earlier on Monday that the order was part of a secret mega-defence deal worth almost €4 billion (S$6.42 billion).

Egypt is the world’s third-biggest arms importer after Saudi Arabia and India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Its arms purchases grew by 136 per cent over the last decade and it has diversified its sourcing beyond the United States, buying military equipment from France, Germany and Russia, the institute said in a report released earlier this year.

Cairo has positioned itself as a bulwark of stability in the region as the conflict in its western neighbour Libya grinds on.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron enjoy a close relationship built on mutual security interests.

At a joint press conference with Mr Sisi in Paris in December, Mr Macron said: “I will not condition defence and economic cooperation matters on these disagreements (over human rights).”

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