By Tim Nanns
Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi left for France on Monday for his first official visit to the country, which will last for several days. He is heading a “high level military delegation”, according to an official statement, and is due to hold talks with “senior military officials” there.
Sobhi is also to attend a ceremony on Tuesday together with his French counterpart, according to the French Defence Ministry. There he will receive the French-built multipurpose frigate (FREMM) Normandie for service in the Egyptian navy. The deal was struck in February and is worth approximately €1bn as reported by IHS Jane’s Defence.
It comes as part of a wider defence deal between Egypt and France, which is worth all-in-all €5.2bn, and includes the purchase of 24 Rafale fighter jets. The deal is financed with the help of a €3.2bn loan by the French government, which was already in place for the last arms deal between the two countries and which was extended to the new one.
It is the second biggest arms deal in a relatively short time, after France sold four Gowind corvettes to Egypt in 2014, rumoured to be worth around €1bn. Egypt has undertaken arms purchases from countries other than the US since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power, after the US were nearly exclusively supplying Egypt with arms in former years.