Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi began a state visit to Paris on Sunday aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the face of crises in the Middle East. A three-day passage under the sign of controversy.
The meeting scheduled for Monday with Emmanuel Macron will undoubtedly be a new opportunity for them to display their differences on human rights. As they did two years ago in Cairo. “Do not forget that we are in a troubled region”, retorted the Egyptian while the French had deplored the arbitrary detentions of journalists, bloggers and other activists. Emmanuel Macron will not fail to address this question again, assured the Elysee.
NGOs demand strong gestures
Several human rights NGOs have stepped up to the plate to demand strong gestures, beyond “speeches”. These associations, outraged by the “red carpet” rolled out by France under the autocrat’s shoes, are waiting for Paris to condition its military support on the release of political prisoners.
The meeting promises to be auspicious, however, after the release on Thursday of three leaders of a human rights organization, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), whose arrests in November had prompted the indignation of France and many countries.
Wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The state visit will open with an official welcoming ceremony on Monday at the Invalides, followed by an interview with Macron at the Elysee Palace and a press point. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi will then meet the President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo before a dinner at the Elysee Palace.
On Tuesday, he will go to the Arc de Triomphe for a wreath laying at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, notably before a meeting with Prime Minister Jean Castex and President of the Senate Gérard Larcher.
The two heads of state will also take stock of their cooperation on major issues in the Middle East: the fight against terrorism, the Libyan crisis, rivalries with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr