With arms fair, big-buyer Egypt aims to diversify sources

A visitor walks past a banner displaying Egyptian commandos during the first arms fair organized in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi inaugurated the fair, where hundreds of companies are participating. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s first international weapons fair is giving the major arms purchaser vast opportunities to diversify its weapons sources, while hosting an event in the booming industry’s hottest region.

The three-day Egypt Defence Expo that ended Wednesday saw nearly 400 exhibition stands and some 10,000 military and defense visitors from over 40 countries. It was billed to the public as an event to boost the country’s prestige on the world stage.

Details on new agreements or sales resulting from the show have yet to be announced, and officials were tight-lipped about figures considered state secrets in Egypt, where the military has been a dominant force in politics since independence.

The country has been the world’s fourth largest arms importer in recent years, and officials say they seek to boost cooperation globally.