Sisi, Macron discuss bilateral cooperation, Libya, counter-terrorism, and irregular migration

Mohamed Soliman , Friday 12 Nov 2021

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed a number of issues - including bilateral cooperation, Libya, counter-terrorism, and irregular migration - in a meeting on Friday afternoon at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

Macron, Sisi
France s President Emmanuel Macron (L) greets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) as he arrives at the Elysee Palace for a working lunch in the framework of the International Conference for Libya, in Paris on November 12, 2021. AFP

The meeting between the two leaders comes hours ahead of the convening of the International Conference on Libya later today in the French capital.

The Paris conference is being organised with the United Nations, with the participation of regional and world leaders, as the North African country is heading into long-awaited elections on 24 December.

The Egyptian president commended during the meeting with Macron the distinguished bilateral and strategic relations between Egypt and France on all fronts, with a special focus on the political, economic, trade and military fields, according to a statement by the Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady.

El-Sisi said he is keen on regularly maintaining consultations with the French president regadring bilateral cooperation issues and deepening Egyptian-French partnership or regional and international issues of mutual concern.

He highlighted the fruitful outcomes of the exchanged presidential visits between the two sides, in addition to the recent visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to France in October 2021.

For his part, Macron commended developments in bilateral relations between Egypt and France in all domains, Rady said.

Macron also stressed he is looking forward to maximizing mutual cooperation in the coming period and boosting political coordination and exchanging viewpoints regarding various fileds of mutual concern, given the fact that Egypt is a most important partner to France in the Middle East and a cornerstone of stability and security in the region, Rady added.

Cooperation to end Libyan crisis

El-Sisi and Macron also discussed means of coordinating between Paris and Cairo on ending the crisis in Libya, given that Egypt is one of the most important neighbouring countries to Libya and has exerted "sincere" efforts to support the political track there, according to Rady.

Cairo has been pushing for a political settlement in Libya for years, complete disarming of militias, an end to foreign intervention in the country, as well as the fair distribution of wealth among Libya's various regions.

Egypt has hosted numerous meetings to bridge the gap between various Libyan parties and foster dialogue.

Both leaders agreed to continue exerting efforts "to settle the situation in Libya in a comprehensive and integrated manner that addresses all aspects of the Libyan crisis, leading to the upcoming elections in December 2021."

They also stressed the importance of the exiting of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan territory, to restore security and stability in the country, and preserve the state's resources and national institutions.

Economic cooperation

For his part, President Macron affirmed France's keenness to support Egypt's "ambitious" measures to advance the economy and achieve comprehensive development, especially by increasing French investments, transferring expertise and technology, highlighting the praises of international economic institutions for the performance of the Egyptian economy, according to Rady.

France has sizable investments in Egypt, with about 160 French companies operating in the Egyptian market in various fields.

According to the French Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the volume of French investments in Egypt exceeds 5 billion Euros, while the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reaches 3 billion Euros annually.

The two leaders also agreed on the importance of strengthening Egypt- European Union cooperation in order to achieve stability and growth for the countries of the region and neighbouring countries, as well as curbing irregular migration to the Mediterranean countries.

The participants in the Paris Conference on Libya include French President Macron; Egyptian President El-Sisi; Libya's Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbeibah; and the Head of Libya's Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi.

They also include Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi; the UN envoy to Libya Ján Kubiš; and the US Vice President Kamala Harris.

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