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EGYPT - FRANCE

French defence minister in Egypt after Rafale delivery

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defence minister
Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defence minister Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian began a two-day visit to Cairo Saturday, days after France delivered the first three of 24 Rafale fighter jets sold to Egypt in a 5.2-billion-euro deal. The two countries are in talks over the sale of two more naval corvette warships, a French diplomat told news agency AFP.

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Le Drian will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during the trip, which is part of his tour of Africa that also includes visits to the Central African Republic, Djibouti and Congo Brazzaville.

The sale by France's Dassault Aviation is the first abroad in the 14 years it has been building the warplanes. India and Qatar have also placed orders this year.

The French air force has accepted that it will receive five planes this year, instead of the usual 11, so that six may be delivered to Egypt.

Egypt bought the jets to boost its military capability in the face of an unstable Libya to the west and the threat posed by the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula.

The deal also includes contracts for missiles and for a frigate from naval group DCNS.

"The minister will discuss the deliveries of hardware" to Egypt following the Rafale deal, a French official said ahead of Le Drian's visit.

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