Artillery types

Under European pressure, France sells artillery guns to the Czech Republic

A Caesar self-propelled gun is seen during a firing exercise involving mobile 155mm artillery systems at a training ground in Canjuers in southern France December 15, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – France is set to sell 52 Caesar artillery guns to the Czech Republic in a deal worth 257 million euros ($301 million) as Paris is pushing for greater autonomy in European defense, an official from the Ministry of the Armed Forces said on Wednesday.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Europe must stop being naive when it comes to defending its interests and must strengthen its own military capacity after reaching a 3 billion euro frigate agreement (3, 5 billion dollars) with Greece and signed a cooperation agreement. Read more

Paris was embroiled in a dispute with the United States, Australia and Britain earlier this month over a trilateral nuclear security agreement that sank a multibillion-dollar contract from French-designed submarines with Canberra.

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“This (Czech agreement) comes after a period of rapprochement with the Czech Republic which has been marked strategically, but also a closer vision of what the European defense policy should be and should bring to us”, declared the press officer. a visit by the Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly to Prague on Thursday to sign the contract.

Most guns will be assembled in the Czech Republic.

France has also sought to bring European allies into military operations in Africa’s Sahel region where it has some 5,000 counter-terrorism troops fighting Islamist militants as part of efforts to encourage a broader European military strategy.

The Czechs are one of nine countries that contributed special forces to a European contingent.

($1 = 0.8537 euros)

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Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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