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Egypt Signs $1.7B Deal for South Korean Howitzers

Egypt has signed a $1.66 billion deal for South Korean howitzers, the military said Wednesday, a week after Washington approved a major arms sale to Cairo.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki and the head of South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration, Kang Eun-Ho.

The deal provides for “joint management and manufacture of the K9A1 howitzer system at the factories of the (Egyptian) National Authority for Military Production in cooperation with South Korean firm Hanwha,” the Egyptian military said in a statement.

The statement did not disclose the value of the deal but South Korea said it was worth more than two trillion South Korean won (around $1.66 bn).

“This contract exceeded 2 trillion won, not only recording the largest export for K9 self-propelled howitzers, but it also served as an opportunity to be recognized once again for the excellence of South Korea’s weapons systems,” the South Korean president’s office said.

Last month, the United States approved a $2.56 billion deal to supply Egypt with 12 Super Hercules C-130 military transport aircraft and related equipment as well as air defense radar systems.

The US deal came despite persistent concerns over Egypt’s human rights record.

In September, the US State Department put $130 million of military aid to Egypt on hold because of a lack of improvement on human rights.

For the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, President Joe Biden‘s administration budgeted $1.4 billion for aid to Egypt — most of it military-related — the same figure as last year.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief who rose to power after leading the overthrow of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi, has rejected human rights concerns.

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