Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed the growing need to support dialogue between the Islamic and European worlds during his meeting with French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday night in Paris.
El-Sisi highlighted the need to support “bridges of communication and paths of dialogue” to reach an understanding between the two worlds based on respect of the other, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said.
The president reviewed with Le Drian developments of the Palestinian issue and means to revive the peace process.
They agreed to intensify bilateral coordination and cooperation with international partners to urge the Palestinians and Israelis to resume negotiations.
The target is to reach a comprehensive and fair solution to the crisis and restore the rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international references, Rady said.
El-Sisi and Le Drian also discussed a number of regional issues, including developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, and Syria.
El-Sisi called on the international community to support efforts to restore the national institutions in the afflicted countries to resolve their crises.
Such efforts are needed to help these countries confront foreign interference, eradicate terrorism, and achieve balance among regional countries, the statement added.
Le Drian said France wants to enhance coordination with Egypt on Middle East issues in light of the strategic balance Egypt has maintained in the Eastern Mediterranean and the region.
He voiced confidence that El-Sisi’s visit and his upcoming talks with French President Emmanuel Macron will bolster bilateral cooperation in multiple fields.
El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s willingness to support the extending strategic partnership with France, which represents an “important pillar” of security and stability in the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East.
The president said Egypt wants to further coordination with the French side on security, political and economic issues of mutual concern.
El-Sisi’s visit to France comes a month following Le Drian's official visit to Egypt, after Macron had issued statements that sparked controversy in much of the Muslim world, including defending people’s right to make cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Macron’s remarks incited calls to boycott French products in many Arab countries, a move France has urged to stop.
In November, during his visit to Egypt, Le Drian affirmed his country’s respect for the religion of Islam, saying that Muslims in France are part of the French history and identity.
During the same month, El-Sisi told Macron in a phone call that coexistence between different religions must be promoted through dialogue, understanding and mutual respect, not by desecrating religious icons.