France’s President Francois Hollande and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Sisi have agreed on Egypt’s acquisition of two Mistral-class ships, the French leader’s administration said Wednesday. The warships had originally been built for Russian Federation , but the sale was cancelled due to Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Russia’s deal with France was originally supposed to be its biggest arms purchase ever from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country.
France also agreed to refund 950 million ($1 billion) to Moscow after Paris cancelled the deal.
It has not divulged how much Egypt will pay for the warships, but Paris insists it is not out of pocket.
Russian Federation had paid about €840m in advance before the deal was stopped as the Ukrainian conflict erupted with Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He noted French military cooperation with Egypt and Egypt’s “important role” in the Middle East.
It also acquired a Fremm frigate as part of a 5.2 billion euro contract for 24 Rafale warplanes earlier this year, France’s first overseas export of the fighter jet.
Each Mistral helicopter carrier is capable of transporting up to 16 helicopter gunships, 700 troops and 50 armored vehicles. And the military official said it was not permitted for the buyer of a warship to re-sell without permission from the original seller.
French media reported previously that a high-ranking Egyptian delegation was discussing the terms for purchasing the Mistral helicopter carriers with the French government but had been unable to reach an agreement on a final price.
The vessels would add powerful capabilities to Egypt’s military arsenal as Sisi battles Islamist militant threats to his government in places including the Sinai Peninsula and from across Egypt’s western border in Libya. “It’s just trying to keep a lid on them”.