Sisi, Macron discuss co-operation in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron met Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Tuesday during a three-day visit to France focusing on economic co-operation and the fight against extremism.
Macron on Tuesday declined to publicly comment on the rights record of his Egyptian counterpart Sisi, saying he was in not in the business of giving “lessons.”
“We do not give lessons without taking account of the context,” Macron said at a press conference with Sisi in Paris, voicing support for Egypt’s “fight against violent religious fundamentalism.”
Macron told the press conference that combating extremism “should be carried out with the respect of the rule of law and human rights” and his aides said he raised cases of arrested activists in private during the two-hour talks.
The two countries marked Sisi’s visit to Paris with the signature of several agreements on transport, energy and cultural cooperation.
Earlier in the day French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday that France will discuss the possible sale of more Rafale aircrafts with Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his visit to Paris this week, .
Under the previous government, France had concluded several major military agreements with Egypt, including the sale of 24 Rafale combat aircraft, a multi-mission frigate and two Mistral warships in contracts worth some 6 billion euros.
The 2015 Rafale contract – the first export contract for the jet – included the option of selling another twelve aircrafts.
“If there can be new contracts, so much the better. That will be discussed today by the President of the Republic (Macron) and the president (Sisi),” said Le Maire, when asked by Europe 1 radio to comment on reports that the sale of the extra 12 aircrafts was on the table but that his ministry was reluctant because of the payment terms asked for by Egypt.
“It is normal that Bercy (the French finance ministry) would want to make sure Egypt should be able to pay its plane orders,” Le Maire said.
“As far as human rights are concerned, of course we’ll discuss that. I have no doubt that the President of the Republic will mention the issue of human rights when he has lunch with his Egyptian counterpart,” added Le Maire.

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