France, Egypt presidents meet amid concerns over extremism

2017-10-24 17:26
French president Emmanuel Macron. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

French president Emmanuel Macron. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

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Paris -  Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday as part of a three-day visit to France focusing on economic cooperation and the fight against extremism.

Macron and al-Sisi were expected to make a joint statement at the presidential Elysee palace. French authorities see Egypt as a key country in efforts to stabilise the troubled region.

Egypt has been struggling to contain an Islamic militant insurgency led by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group mostly in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. Attacks elsewhere in Egypt have recently increased.

Egypt has concluded several arms deals with France since 2015, including the purchase of two French-made Mistral-class helicopter carriers, 24 French Rafale warplanes and missiles.

The French presidency has said human rights issues also would be raised during Tuesday's meeting.

al-Sisi has presided over a large-scale crackdown on dissent. Egyptian authorities have jailed several human rights activists and banned others from travel over allegations of harming national security.

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders displayed a banner reading "Save Egyptian journalists" and portraits of jailed reporters in front of the Luxor obelisk in Paris' city center.

"Press freedom is violated every day in Egypt ... It is impossible today to be an independent and free journalist" in the country, said Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters Without Borders.

The Egyptian government recently moved ahead with a law that would place heavy restrictions on civil society groups.

Read more on:    abdel fattah al sisi  |  emmanuel ­macron  |  egypt  |  north africa
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