Emmanuel Macron, who received his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sissi this Monday in Paris, arrived the day before for a state visit, pleaded in favor of “democratic openness” and “an active civil society” in a country accused by NGOs of violating human rights.
“I had the opportunity to discuss, as we do with friends in confidence and in all frankness, the issue of human rights,” said the French president during a press conference with the president. Sissi, adding that he “remains the constant advocate of democratic and social openness and the recognition of a dynamic and active civil society”.
The French head of state hailed in the wake of the release Thursday of three leaders of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), after a strong international mobilization. He assured to have also evoked “several other individual cases”, including that of Ramy Shaath, defender of Egyptian-Palestinian rights married to a Frenchwoman, of which several NGOs denounce the arbitrary detention for more than a year.
Dialogue rather than boycott, according to Macron
The NGOs call for demonstrations on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in front of the National Assembly. France must move from “speeches to actions” instead of rolling out the “red carpet for a dictator”, by first stopping “sales of arms and electronic surveillance equipment” to Egypt at the risk of ending up “Accomplice of the repression”, launched the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).
But after refusing to “give lessons” to his host in October 2017, drawing the wrath of human rights defenders, Emmanuel Macron again refrained from putting too much pressure on Cairo. “I will not condition our cooperation in matters of defense, as in economic matters, on these disagreements”, specified the French president, considering “more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue rather than a policy of boycott which would come to reduce the effectiveness of one of our partners in the fight against terrorism and for regional stability ”.
Emmanuel Macron took the opportunity to salute “the exceptional and friendly relationship” between France and Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world with more than 100 million inhabitants, considered by the Elysee as a “pole of stability” in an unstable region.
Anti-French “hate campaign”
The two presidents on Monday displayed their convergence on several major regional security issues, from the fight against terrorism to the Libyan crisis through rivalries with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, and displayed a common front against Ankara’s behavior. .
Emmanuel Macron also thanked his counterpart, “president of a very large Arab and Muslim country”, for his visit to Paris, after an anti-French “hate campaign” in the Muslim world. France has recently been the subject of boycott calls and protests after the defense
VIDEO. Caricatures of Muhammad: the astonishing exchange between Al-Sisi and Macron
by Macron of the freedom to caricature, after the assassination by an Islamist in October of Professor Samuel Paty for having shown caricatures of Muhammad in progress.
Al-Sisi recalled on Monday that Egypt had condemned this attack. But he also underlined the “sacred” character of religion which, according to him, preserves “supremacy over human values”. He also pointed out the risk, by criticizing Islam, of “hurting millions of people”.
Since the dismissal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the army in 2013, and the coming to power the following year of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a growing repression has fallen in Egypt on all forms of opposition, Islamist or liberal.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr