France signs deal with Egypt for first export of Rafale jets for 'struggle against terrorism'

French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) signs military contracts with his Egyptian counterpart in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right) on Mondayat the presidential palace in the capital Cairo. Eric Trappier, chief
French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) signs military contracts with his Egyptian counterpart in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right) on Mondayat the presidential palace in the capital Cairo. Eric Trappier, chief executive officer of France's Dassault Aviation, signed a multi-billion-euro contract for Rafale fighter jets, with Egypt agreeing to buy 24 of the warplanes. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO, Feb 16, 2015 (AFP) - France on Monday signed its first export contract for Rafale fighter jets, with Egypt agreeing to buy 24 of the warplanes, an AFP correspondent said.

Eric Trappier, chief executive officer of France's Dassault Aviation, signed the multi-billion-euro contract at a presidential palace in Cairo in the presence of Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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

The deal was inked as F-16 warplanes of the Egyptian army bombed positions of the Islamic State group in Libya, after ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) released a video showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Copts captured there in January.

"This is a new era of bilateral cooperation between Paris and Cairo," said Le Drian. "This contract puts Rafale at the top of the pyramid of combat aircraft."