France and four Arab states have signed a military co-operation agreement covering technical assistance and arms production.
France and four Arab states have signed a military co-operation agreement covering technical assistance and arms production. Officials said the agreement, signed in Paris on Tuesday (14 March), would enable French aircraft and missile manufacturers to sell arms to the Arabs with French government backing.
SYNOPSIS: The agreement was signed by General Gamassi, Egypt's War Minister, who flew into Paris on Monday (13 March) for a three-day visit. Before the signing he saw the French President Giscard D'Estaing at the Elysee Palace.
On leaving the President's residence, General Gamassi said he discussed matters concerning the Industrial Arab Organisation-IAO. Relations between Egypt and France were also reviewed. The General described these as "strategic and not merely tactical and short-term relations".
The general, who is also Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister, then drove to the Defence Ministry for a meeting with French Defence Minister from Bourges, and the signing ceremony. General Gamassi signed on behalf of a Cairo-based Arab arms consortium, comprising Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. M. Bourges signed on behalf of France. General Gamassi was accompanied by Mr. Ashraf Marwan, chairman and managing director of the consortium, and representatives of each of the four member states. The IAO was set up in 1975 with the backing of Saudi Arabia and the other oil-rich Arab countries. Its initial capital was one billion dollars. The United States and Britain recently concluded deals for the manufacture under licence in Egypt of military equipment.