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Egypt and Saudi Arabia 'eager' to buy Mistral warships from France

media Hollande with Egyptian President al-Sisi as they leave the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal in Ismailia. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are interested in buying two French Mistral warships that had been sold to Russia before Paris scrapped the deal, French media reported Friday.Their interest was expressed during a visit by French President François Hollande to Egypt on Thursday, for the inauguration ceremony of the Suez Canal, where he was guest of honour.

A French official source revealed that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are willing to do anything to buy the two Mistral warships that are now back on the market.

Since the ouster of former President, Mohamed Morsi, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have strengthened their relationship.

On the 30th of July, the two countries signed an agreement on security and economic cooperation, marking another step in their relationship. At the same time, Egypt backed the Saudi led operation against the Houthis in Yemen.

Speaking before French reporters on Thursday, Hollande neither confirmed nor denied claims of a potential sale to Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Instead he replied the two naval ships “arouse interest from a lot of countries and there will be no trouble in finding a buyer.”

However, he insisted “France’s relationship with Egypt is first and foremost: the fight against terrorism and security," even if the recent sale of Rafale jets to Cairo suggests the two are expanding their strategic partnership.

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