Egypt’s military has confirmed that it ordered 30 Rafale jets from French defence firm Dassault Aviation to shore up “national security”.
The military said in a statement on Monday that the order which follows the 2015 purchase of 24 Rafale jets, will be financed through a 10-year loan. Investigative site Disclose had reported earlier on Monday that the order was part of a secret mega-defence deal worth almost four billion euros.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Egypt is the world’s third-largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia and India. Its arms imports grew by 136 percent 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.
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 Sisi in Paris in December, Macron said, “I will not condition defence and economic cooperation matters on this disagreement (over human rights).”