France secretly signed a $4.5 billion contract to deliver 30 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, the Disclose investigative website reported on Monday, citing confidential documents.
According to the outlet, at the request of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, the two countries signed three contracts, one of which concerns the procurement of 30 Rafale fighter jets from France. The other two contracts, worth 200 million euros, involve MBDA missiles and Safran Electronics & Defense equipment.
Disclose stated that an Egyptian delegation is due to arrive in Paris to seal a deal as early as Tuesday. Cairo will make payments mainly with loans due to the large debt owed by the state, the outlet said.
France has been a key arms exporter for Egypt despite claims of a poor human rights record in the Arab country. Egypt’s military purchases from France include two Mistral-class helicopter carriers and dozens of Rafale fighter jets.
The Rafale jet, which has also been sold to India and Qatar, is one of France’s most successful defense export equipment. Earlier in September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition. India opted for Dassault Rafles over Eurofighter Typhoons.