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Africa

France, Egypt sign Rafale deal as Cairo bombs IS

media French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo on Monday

France has signed an agreement with Egypt for the first foreign sale of its Rafale fighter jet. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Egytpian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi oversaw the signing of the deal at the presidential palace in Cairo on Monday evening.

For Egypt the agreement is a show of international support for Sisi, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and wants to break a US monopoly over Egypt's arms supplies.

Sisi’s government launched air strikes against the Islamic State armed group on Monday following the murder of 21 Coptic Christians.

"Our two countries are pursuing a common struggle against terrorism," Le Drian said during the signing ceremony.

"Egypt's stability is an important element in the stability of the countries overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, especially your country that has witnessed recent terrorist events," Egyptian Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi told Le Drian.

The overall deal includes three contracts with Egypt - supplying Rafale fighter jets, an FREMM multi-mission frigate from naval group DCNS and missiles.

Paris hopes the 5.2-billion-euro deal for 24 Rafale fighters to be delivered later this year will prompt others to purchase its combat jet.

Negotiations with India have dragged on since 2012 and Brazil chose Sweden’s Saab in 2013.

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