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Macron Stresses Security with Egyptian Leader Sisi

Macron Stresses Security with Egyptian Leader Sisi

Tuesday, 24 October, 2017 - 18:30
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a military ceremony at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris on October 24, 2017 (AFP Photo/CHARLES PLATIAU)

French President Emmanuel Macron backed visiting Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his country's fight against terrorism on Tuesday.

According to AFP, Macron stressed how Egypt was a vital partner in the fight against Islamist extremism in the Middle East and Europe, as well as key in the search for lasting political solutions in war-wracked Libya and Syria.

Responding to claims of rights groups, Macron said he would not "give lessons" to a sovereign state.

"The first battle that we have in common is the fight against terrorism," Macron said during a joint press conference which underlined their common purpose against extremists that have claimed hundreds of victims in both countries.

Macron said he had stated that combating extremism "should be carried out with respect for the rule of law and human rights."

As French president Macron said, "I would not accept that another leader gave me lessons about how to govern my country... I believe in the sovereignty of states and I am not here to give lessons without taking account of the context."

Egypt is a major buyer of French military equipment with orders worth more than 5.0 billion euros ($5.8 billion) since 2015.

They include an order for 24 fighter jets from the Rafale series for which France had long struggled to find a buyer.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday that Macron and Sisi would discuss the possibility of further Rafale orders.

"If there can be new contracts, all the better," he told Europe 1 radio.

Macron's backing for Egypt's tough stance on security is in line with that of other Western leaders, who see Sisi as a source of stability.

US President Donald Trump memorably praised the Egyptian for doing a "fantastic job" in April.

The most populous country in the Middle East is fighting the Egyptian branch of the ISIS group in the north of the Sinai peninsula and has faced a series of attacks that has affected its vital tourism industry.

At least 16 Egyptian police officers were killed at the weekend in an ambush by fighters in the country's Western Desert in a rare flare-up outside the Sinai.

Macron and Sisi both stressed the need to step up the fight against terrorism in Egypt's lawless neighbor Libya, where ISIS ultrahardliners have gained a foothold.

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