Egypt Watch

For the second year in a row Egypt is top buyer of Italian weapons

An Italian report indicated that Egypt was the top buyer of Italian weapons during 2020, with 991.2 million euros worth of sales. That means Egypt topped the list for the second year in a row.

This came in a report by the Italian Peace and Disarmament Network after the government submitted the annual report to parliament on arms exports. This report is imposed under Law 185/90, which regulates the external sale of Italian military systems.

The report indicated that arms deals with the government of General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi are still flourishing despite the gross violations of human rights and lack of cooperation in the case of the researcher Giulio Regeni, according to the Italian agency AKI. The report said that Egypt came in the first place and second place was the United States, which bought weapons at a value of 456.4 million euros, followed by the United Kingdom with a value of 352 million euros.

The network indicated that during the year 2020, the total number of new licences issued to export military equipment amounted to 3,927 million euros, a significant decrease of 25 per cent compared to the total of 2019. The new licencing permits confirm that Egypt is the recipient of the largest number of licences, as its share increased to 991.2 million euros in 2020. According to the Italian Network report, these permits are 120 million euros more than Egypt’s share in 2019.

About two weeks ago, the Egyptian army announced the arrival of a second Italian naval frigate, the Frim Bergamini, to join the fleet of the Egyptian naval forces, about four months after the arrival of the first one. And in the middle of last year, an arms deal was revealed between Egypt and Italy, under which it would receive 11 billion euros worth of arms, including two Frim Bergamini frigates worth 1.1 billion euros.

According to observers, Egypt is seeking, by buying weapons, to ensure Italy does not escalate the case of the murder of the researcher Giulio Regeni. This issue has caused escalating tension in the relations between the two countries.