Human Rights Watch condemns the agreement that Paris is only encouraging “ruthless repression” in Egypt under President el-Sisi.
Egypt has signed a contract with France to buy 30 Rafale fighter jets in a deal that research website Divulgar said was worth $ 4.5 billion. Egypt’s defense ministry revealed the deal in a statement Tuesday early.
President Emmanuel Macron said in December that he would not condition arms sales in Egypt to a commitment to respect human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo’s ability to fight violence in the region.
Egypt’s defense ministry said the deal would be financed by a loan that would have to be repaid for at least ten years, but did not give details on the value of the deal or any other information.
Citing confidential documents, Disclose said an agreement had been reached in late April and could be sealed on Tuesday when an Egyptian delegation arrives in Paris.
This agreement would give a new impetus to the fighter jets manufactured by Dassault after finalizing a $ 3.01 million deal in January for sale of 18 Rafales aircraft to Greece.
Qatar and India have also signed agreements with France, making the plane one of the country’s top defense industry achievements.
According to reports, the Egyptian deal also covers contracts for missile maker MBDA and equipment supplier Safran Electronics & Defense, which are worth $ 241 million more.
The French Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs and the Armed Forces were not immediately available for comment.
Encouraging ruthless repression
France was the largest supplier of weapons to Egypt between 2013 and 2017, including the sale of 24 warplanes with an option for 12 more.
These contracts, however, dried up, including agreements that had been at an advanced stage for more Rafale aircraft and warships.
Diplomats said this had to do with funding issues over fears about Cairo’s long-term ability to repay state-backed loans, rather than any concerns Paris had about the human rights situation in Egypt.
Benedicte Jeannerod, the director of Human Rights Watch in France, directly condemned the deal.
“By signing a mega-arm contract with [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-] The Sisi government, while the latter presides over the worst repression in recent decades in Egypt, the eradication of the human rights community in the country and commits extremely serious violations under the pretext of the fight against terrorism, France only encourages this relentless repression, ”Jeannerod said. the Reuters news agency.
It is revealed that the financing of the agreement will be guaranteed up to 85 percent by the French state with BNP Paribas SA, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and CIC, which financed the original agreement, and re-subscribed. Banks were not immediately available for comment.
Concerned about the political vacuum in Libya, instability throughout the region and the threat of armed groups in Egypt, both countries have cultivated closer economic and military ties since El-Sisi’s rise to power.
Human rights organizations have accused Macron of turning a blind eye to what they say is violating freedoms by the al-Sisi government.
French officials say Paris is pursuing a policy of not openly criticizing countries over human rights in order to be more effective in private, on a case-by-case basis.
Although Egypt has about $ 125 billion in foreign dollars, its military leader buys more weapons for nothing more than to improve its image, its prestige and appease Western allies.
France will sell 30 fighter jets from Egypt in a $ 4.5 million deal https://t.co/JVHZ21zqmd
Dr. Khalil al- ِ Anani Khalil al-Anani May 3, 2021
The deal also came as a result of a huge state visit to Paris by El-Sisi in December organized by Macron.
Egypt and France have had an increasingly close relationship under the secular government of former al-Sisi army general, with common interests in the Middle East and a shared suspicion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Macron decorated el-Sisi with the highest honor of France, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, during the visit.
Those enraged activists who had asked him not to throw the red carpet, but to raise concerns about the estimated 60,000 political prisoners in Egyptian prisons.
The French president also ruled out France’s trade and defensive ties with Egypt being conditioned on the issue of rights.
“I think it is more effective to have a policy of dialogue than a policy of boycott that reduces the effectiveness of one of our partners in the fight against terrorism and for regional stability,” Macron said.