French delegation in Cairo for talks on military cooperation

A large delegation of French officials arrived in Cairo on Saturday evening for discussions on future military cooperation between Egypt and France.

Sources who helped welcome the delegation said it includes prominent figures from the French military who will meet with top Egyptian military officials to discuss cooperation on weaponry and training.

The French visit precedes the delivery of a French warship and several helicopters to Egypt. Major General Hesham al-Halaby, a pilot at Nasser Military Academy, said that a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship carrying military helicopters has left the port of Saint Nazaire in France, to conduct preliminary maneuvers before being delivered to Egypt.

French President Francois Hollande visited Egypt three weeks ago, signing a US$1m arms deal with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, evidence of closer cooperation on miliary matters between the two nations.

Halaby said in a TV interview on CBC Extra that the mistral-class vessel is an amphibious warship that can house from 450 to 900 soldiers, and has the ability to conduct assault missions to protect Egypt’s interests beyond its borders.

He added that this vessel being in Egypt’s possession ensures that it stays up to date with developments in global military technology. Egypt will be the first country in the MENA region to own such a vessel and the third in the Mediterranean basin after France and Italy.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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