In the Egyptian capital, Cairo, formal talks began last weekend (13/14 November) between French Prime Minister Raymond Barre and Egyptian Premier Mamdouh Salem.
In the Egyptian capital, Cairo, formal talks began last weekend (13/14 November) between French Prime Minister Raymond Barre and Egyptian Premier Mamdouh Salem. The talks in broad terms covered military, economic and political topics, but are believed to have concentrated on French assistance to help Egypt set up its own arms industry.
SYNOPSIS: The talks, which started on Saturday (13 November), were held at the Egyptian Premier's office. M. Barre, on a five-day visit met Egypt's Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi before sitting down to discussions with General Salem. The four billion dollar arms project believed to be a major topic is financially backed by Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Arab countries. According to sources quoted in Reuters, the plan includes the production of French-designed jets under licence. Egypt already has Mirages, purchased after the 1973 war with Israel and has also bought French ground-to-air missiles.
The final round of the talks, held on Monday (15 November) also dealt in detail with the Middle East situation. French technical aid and other assistance to development projects in Egypt, including an underground tramway network in Cairo and two nuclear power stations were also discussed. Officials in Paris were earlier quoted as saying that the French leader would also discuss assistance for the construction of two tunnels under the Suez canal. On the Middle East, M. Barre said at a banquet on Saturday (13 November) that France was ready to help with any settlement, and would be willing to provide any guarantees in such a settlement.