Gulf Arab States such as Saudi Arabia and UAE may part-finance the two Mistral warships which Egypt is to buy under a 950 million euros ($1.06 billion) deal with France.
French and gulf based media reported today that the deal was made possible by a financial commitment made by certain gulf countries.
"Yesterday, I agreed the price and conditions of this sale with (Egyptian) President (Abdel Fattah al-) Sisi and so France will ensure the delivery of these ships without losing anything, while helping protect Egypt," French President Hollande told reporters on his arrival at an EU summit in Brussels.
There is no official word from either Cairo or Paris as to how Egypt may pay for the ships. However, Egypt’s poor budgetary position and its previous deal to buy Rafale aircraft and a DCNS frigate financed partly by French banks, opens the possibility that the Mistral deal too may have an external financial input.
Delivery of the helicopter borne troop assault ships could be done by March next year after training about 400 Egyptian naval officers and crew. Each of the ships can hold up to 16 helicopters and 1,000 troops.
Arabian Business news said quoting a diplomatic source that Cairo wanted to base one ship in the Mediterranean to use the ships against rebels in the Sinai peninsula. The second ship is likely to be stationed in the Red Sea for future operations in Yemen, where Egypt is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels.
Egypt does not have the helicopters to be deployed aboard the ships and many have to turn to Russia if it want to use the Kamov helicopters modified for use on the Mistral.