Egypt and France's parliament speakers discuss strengthening ties in Paris

Gamal Essam El-Din, Wednesday 10 Oct 2018

The discussion in Paris covered political and economic relations between Egypt and France as well as the conditions in Libya

Egyptian parliament speaker, Ali Abdel-Aal, speaks with President of the Senate of France, Gerard Larcher, during a meeting in Paris (Photo Courtesy of Egypt's Parliament)

Egypt parliament's speaker Ali Abdel-Aal and President of the Senate of France Gerard Larcher held a round of talks in Paris on Wednesday.

An official statement said the talks covered the current conditions in Egypt, particularly the country's battle against terrorism, the IMF-inspired economic reform programme, reform of religious discourse, and the human rights situation.

"Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal was keen to visit France upon an invitation from President of the Senate of France Gerard Larcher to help boost relations between the two countries," said the statement, adding that "Speaker Abdel-Aal was also keen to stress that the visit is necessary because Egypt gives a lot of importance to its relations with France on all levels, and France has also shown throughout this year that it is keen to strengthen ties with Egypt."

The statement said the discussion focused on the dangers of terrorism and religious extremism.

"Speaker Abdel-Aal told French MPs that Egypt is doing its best and that its war against terrorism does not come at the expense of respecting human rights," said the statement, adding that "speaker Abdel-Aal stressed that Egypt has gone a long way in eliminating terrorist movements, and that as Egypt has become greatly stable, it has been able to attract a lot of foreign investments and tourists throughout this year."

Speaker Abdel-Aal was also keen to highlight the joint efforts of the Egyptian government and parliament in the area of economic reform and creating a more favourable investment environment.

"The result of these efforts led to doubling Egypt's banking reserves of foreign exchange and boosting the influx of foreign investment into the country to unprecedented levels," Abdel-Aal said.

In light of the above positive developments, speaker Abdel-Aal urged France to inject more investments into the Egyptian market and eliminate all obstacles standing in the way of increasing French tourist traffic into Egypt.

The statement said the discussion also covered the situation in Libya. Speaker Abdel-Aal said Egypt is doing its best to help Libya regain stability as soon as possible.

"Internal stability in Libya is highly important to Egypt because the two countries have old historical relations and share more than 1,000 kilometre border," he said. 

President of the Senate of France Larcher said he was keen to extend his invitation to the Speaker Abdel-Aal to give a message that Egypt and France have become strategic partners.

"I would like to emphasise that the state of France is keen on all levels to reinforce ties with Egypt and build strong bridges of cooperation and coordination with this important country," said Larcher, indicating that "France fully supports Egypt's economic reform programme, and highly appreciates Egypt's victory in the war against terrorism.”

"We see that this victory has put Egypt on the road of stability, and all those who visit Egypt can feel this sense of stability and security," Larcher said.

In a dinner party held on Tuesday night, Larcher said he is highly infatuated with the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

"In this respect, let me repeat what great French philologist and orientalist John Francois Champollion, the decipherer of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, who once said ‘I am all for Egypt and Egypt is all for me’."

In economic terms, speaker Larcher emphasised that many French companies are now doing business in Egypt.

"We are ready to urge more companies to invest in Egypt, particularly in the infrastructure sector," Larcher said

He said he has high hopes that the Egyptian-French Parliamentary Friendship Association will play a greater role in boosting the strategic partnership between Cairo and Paris.

Larcher, who visited Egypt in November 2016, said he is sure that he will visit Egypt again as he strongly believes in the Egyptian proverb "whoever drinks the water of the Nile will return to Egypt."

Abdel-Aal also met with speaker of the French National Assembly Richard Ferrand on Wednesday. A statement said Abdel-Aal was keen to review a number of important local and foreign issues with Ferrand.

"These issues covered the areas of illegal migration, terrorism, and economic reforms," the statement read. 

Ferrand, who was chosen by the French ruling socialist party to chair the National Assembly last September, said the dialogue with Egypt is very important to France.

"We are keen that Egypt take deep political and economic reforms for the sake of spreading stability in the Arab world and North Africa," Ferrand said.

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