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France to sell Egypt 30 Rafale jets in $4.5 billion deal

France has agreed to sell 30 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt in a 3.75 billion euro ($4.5 billion) deal which could be sealed as soon as Tuesday, the Disclose investigative website reported, citing confidential documents.

“Very advanced discussions have indeed taken place with Egypt and announcements could be made very soon,” a French governmental source told Reuters in response to the Disclose report on Monday, while declining to give further details.

President Emmanuel Macron said in December he would not make the sale of weapons to Egypt conditional on human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo’s ability to counter terrorism in the region, a comment that drew the ire of critics.

Disclose said the agreement between France and Egypt also covers contracts from missile provider MBDA and equipment provider Safran Electronics & Defense which are worth another 200 million euros.

The website said a deal could be sealed on Tuesday when an Egyptian delegation arrives in Paris.

France was the main weapons supplier to Egypt between 2013-2017. Those contracts dried up, including deals for more Rafale jets and warships that had been at an advanced stage.

Diplomats said that was as much to do with financing issues as with France’s response to human rights concerns.

Disclose said financing for the deal would be up to 85% guaranteed by the French state.