Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said that terrorism was threatening stability in the Middle East and the European continent, calling for addressing international shortcomings in dealing with this phenomenon and exerting concerted efforts in the fight against terrorism financing.
Sisi met on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. His visit highlighted a convergence of views between Egypt and France, especially on issues related to terrorism, migration and regional crises.
The anti-terrorism file was at the heart of talks between the Egyptian delegation and French officials.
During a joint news conference, Macron was keen to emphasize the “common battle” between Paris and Cairo, noting that France “stands by Egypt because the security of this country is also our security.”
Sisi, for his part, stressed that terrorism was the biggest challenge facing growth and development in his country.
Touching on the issue of human rights, the Egyptian president said: “The Egyptian people reject all practices of violence and dictatorship and the lack of respect for human rights.”
He added that he was responsible for 100 million Egyptians who lived in turbulent times and alongside people who followed “extremist thought” and did not like to coexist in peace.
“When it comes to human rights, we’re not evading an answer but I hope that we understand it in its true context of a country in Egypt’s situation. We are not in Europe, with its intellectual, cultural, civilization and human advancement. We’re in a different region,” he noted.
Macron responded to human rights organizations, which have raised the issue of human rights in Egypt ahead of Sisi’s arrival in Paris.
The French president stressed that he did not want to “give lessons” on human rights.
“I believe in the sovereignty of states, and therefore, just as I don’t accept being lectured on how to govern my country, I don’t lecture others,” Macron said.
The Libyan file was at the forefront of the regional crises, which were discussed by the two presidents. They both expressed the need for joint action to prevent the rooting of terrorist organizations - especially ISIS - in Libya, after their defeat in Syria and Iraq.
French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Paris was “interested” in working with Egypt on Libya because of its implications for the countries of North Africa, including Tunisia and the Sahel region.
Paris has also expressed its desire to cooperate with Egypt on Syria. In this regard, Macron said that Paris and Cairo “will work together to establish stability in Syria and maintain its independence, as well as to reach a political solution that can restore peace and provide fair representation for all the country’s minorities.”