Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s Dassault is to sell 30 Mirage multi-purpose combat jets to Egypt in a secret deal worth 3.95 billion euro, according to the French investigative website Disclose.
Details of the top secret deal as seen by the portal, show that France has agreed to sell 30 jets to the government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for 3.75 billion euro, with an additional two contracts worth 200 million euro signed for weapons and avionics systems with the missile manufacturing consortium MBDA and defence specialists Safran Electronics & Defence.
The most remarkable part of the secret deal is that Egypt will take out a loan from a consortium of French banks to pay for the purchase, with the government of President Emmanuel Macron acting as the loan guarantor for up to 85% of the loan amount.
Should al-Sisi default on his payments to Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BNP and CIC, the French taxpayers will pick up the tab, paying 3.4 billion euro for Egypt’s latest military procurement.
The deal was immediately condemned by various human rights groups, who oppose arming the al-Sisi regime. They accuse the Egyptian leader of eradicating his country’s human rights community and of having implemented the worst repression in the country in decades.
Macron was previously criticised by rights groups when he refused to link the issue of human rights to arms sales to Egypt. He maintained it would weaken Cairo’s ability to counter terrorism in the region, a dubious claim when applied to the purchase of a fourth-generation fighter jet.
The French President offered a warm welcome to al-Sisi in December last year, holding a grand ceremony at the Hotel des Invalides monument, hosting a state dinner at the Élysée Palace, and rewarding the Egyptian ruler with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.