Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi arrived in Paris on Sunday, December 6, for a state visit against a backdrop of controversy. It was received this Monday by the French President Emmanuel Macron.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi arrived in Paris, the French capital, for a three-day state visit. He was received by his French counterpart. “I have had the opportunity to raise the issue of human rights, as we do among friends in confidence and in all honesty”, and “I remain the constant advocate of democratic, social openness and the recognition of a dynamic and active civil society”., said Emmanuel Macron at a joint press conference with President al-Sissi. He also welcomed Cairo’s recent release of “three NGO members”.
Indeed, this visit was hotly contested by NGOs protesting against a government that is abusing anti-terrorism legislation to eradicate legitimate human rights work and suppress peaceful dissent. “It is astonishing that France is rolling out the red carpet to a dictator when there are more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience in Egypt today,” Antoine Madelin, one of the leaders of the International Federation for Human Rights, told Agence France-Presse. “
Left-wing parties have also voiced strong criticism of the Egyptian regime. “Since Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi took power in 2013, he has embarked on a growing crackdown on political opposition at large and civil society,” Europe-Ecology Greens said in a statement released on Friday, 4 December. He calls on Emmanuel Macron “to stop all forms of military and security cooperation, as well as the sale of arms and the maintenance and training contracts that accompany them.”
A protest march was even scheduled for Tuesday, December 08, at 6 pm, in front of the National Assembly in Paris.
To recall, on January 27, 2019, the French President regretted that the situation did not evolve «in the right direction» in Egypt. “Bloggers, journalists and activists” are imprisoned there, he said. Al-Sisi said, “Remember, we are in a troubled area.”