This Friday, Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Abdelfattah al-Sisi of Egypt held a working lunch at the Elysee Palace, where they discussed issues such as food security in the midst of the conflict in Russia and Ukraine, the Iranian nuclear program, the current situation in the Middle East, diplomatic relations between the two countries, among other issues, while human rights defenders rejected the Egyptian leader’s visit.
The meeting took place without public statements by the leaders, in what would be the first meeting between the two after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron last April.
However, the Elysee later published in a statement the main issues addressed, including the consequences of the war in Ukraine, in terms of energy and economics, but focusing on how it has been threatening international food security, severely affecting Egypt. for being a cereal importing country that has had to face the increase in prices in recent months.
Another of the topics discussed was the Iranian nuclear program, due to Tehran’s recent statements regarding progress in the construction of possible nuclear weapons, a statement that aroused the concern of various international personalities.
They also discussed the situation in Libya, a country with which Egypt has borders to the west of its territory, and agreed to continue working so that the neighboring nation regains unity and sovereignty, after the civil war and the instability that remains as a result of the political duality, where two blocs claim to be the legitimate government. On one side is the House of Representatives in Tobruk and on the other the Government of National Accord in Tripoli; For now, the United Nations continues trying to promote a dialogue between both fronts, without progress.
In addition, the leaders discussed global warming ahead of the climate summit to be held in November in which Egypt will host “the two presidents took stock of the main issues of bilateral cooperation, which are very dense in all areas “, affirmed the Elysée statement.
Close relations between France and Egypt
During 2013 and 2017, France became the most important supplier of arms to Egypt, promoting its economic and military relations that have become closer over time.
In December 2020, during a state visit, French President Emmanuel Macron awarded the Egyptian president the highest decoration, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, making clear the importance of bilateral relations.
While last year, France, through the French defense firm Dassault Aviation, provided the Egyptian Army with 30 Rafale planes, as part of a multi-billion dollar defense deal between the two countries.
The last time the two leaders met was at the end of 2021, on the sidelines of a conference where they discussed the situation in Libya.
Rejection of relations with Egypt
Human rights activists have repeatedly expressed rejection of President Macron’s relations with the Egyptian president, recalling that the Government of Abdelfattah al-Sisi holds approximately 60,000 people as political prisoners, but that the Government of France makes a blind eye
Precisely preventing protests from activists, the Elysee statement stated that “as part of the dialogue of trust between France and Egypt, they also addressed (both leaders) the issue of human rights.”
However, the concern of defenders continues, especially in the case of Alaa Abdel Fattah, an Egyptian dissident activist who has been on a hunger strike for more than 100 days after being sentenced last year in December to five years in prison. prison.
Just before the meeting between the leaders, the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders invited Macron during the meeting “not to ignore the fate of Alaa Abdel Fattah and all the detained journalists.”
Friday’s meeting comes days after Macron received the leader of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, a close ally of the Al-Sisi administration.
With information from Reuters, EFE and AFP
Source: France 24