Egypt-France strategic partnership key to stability in ME, East Med and Africa: Sisi to Macron

Amr Kandil , Friday 22 Jul 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi affirmed on Friday Egypt’s keenness to deepen the extended strategic partnership with France as a vital pillar to preserve security and stability in the Middle East, East Mediterranean, and Africa.

France s President Macron shakes hands with Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 22, 2022. AFP


The Egyptain president made the remarks in a meeting with his French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of his official visit to Paris.

During the meeting, El-Sisi affirmed to Macron Egypt’s keenness to maximise coordination and consultations with France on the various political, security, and economic issues of mutual concern during the coming period, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.

El-Sisi and Macron addressed means of boosting bilateral relations between the two countries on all levels and discussed a host of regional and international issues.

This was the first one-on-one meeting between the two presidents since Macron was reelected in April.

El-Sisi's visit to France comes as part of a European tour by the president that included Germany and Serbia.

During the meeting, Macron hailed the historic Egyptian-French ties, reaffirming France’s commitment to support the path of strong bilateral relations with Egypt in various fields.

The French president also hailed El-Sisi’s efforts in preserving regional peace and security.

Palestinian issue

The two leaders discussed a number of regional issues, including developments on the Palestinian issue and means of reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

El-Sisi affirmed to Macron Egypt’s unwavering stance on the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict that ensures the rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their independent state in accordace with relevant international resolutions.

The French president praised Egyptian mediating between Palestinians and Israelis and also Egyptian efforts in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Macron also affirmed France’s keenness to continue coordination with Egypt on these issues.

Regional files

The two leaders also discussed other developments in the East Mediterranean region as well as crises in Libya, Syria, and Lebanon.

El-Sisi stressed to Macron that these crises can only be resolved through political solutions in a way that preserves the unity and integrity of their lands and safeguards their national institutions.

A political solution to these crises should also provide a security basis for combating terrorist organisations and circumventing their infiltration between countries in the region, El-Sisi srtressed.

Macron affirmed France’s aspiration to intensify joint coordination with Egypt on issues pertinent to the Middle East in light of Egypt’s political weight in its regional surrounding.

Egypt and France have seen eye-to-eye on a number of regional issues, including the need for a political solution to the conflict in Libya through the holding of elections and the departure of all foreign forces from the country.

Russia-Ukraine crisis

El-Sisi reiterated to Macron Egypt’s stance on the importance of leaving the door open for dialogue and diplomatic solutions for the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

El-Sisi and Macron concurred that the current situation arising from the crisis requires all international actors to be responsible for finding practical solutions and mechanisms that mitigate the impacts of the crisis on the most affected countries.

The two leaders also discussed ways to overcome the difficult economic challenges arising from the Russian-Ukrainian war, especially its negative impact on food and energy security, and also on global markets. 

Coordination on COP27

El-Sisi briefed Macron on Egypt's most to-date efforts to host the 2022 United Nations Climate Change conference (COP27) in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

He also briefed the French president on endeavours to coordinate international efforts in order to achieve tangible progress on combatting climate change and ensure that the conference yield positive results.

Over the past months, Egypt has been keen to coordinate with international partners, including France, on COP27, in order to build on the success achieved by COP26 in Glasgow and ensure that climate pledges are turned into action within the framework of the Paris Agreement on climate.

French-Egyptian economic cooperation

Before meeting Macron, the Egyptian president met with Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries.

El-Sisi and Le Maire agreed on the need to boost French development projects and investments in Egypt, especially in the renewable energy field.

This comes amid the country's ongoing plans to become a regional energy hub given its recent massive natural gas discoveries as well as it plans to transition towards a green economy.

Egypt and France are members of East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) - a regional block that seeks to unblock the full potential of the Eastern Mediterranean gas basin.

Earlier in week, President El-Sisi affirmed in a joint press conference with Gernman Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin Egypt’s full readiness to lay the foundations of a firm partnership with Germany on energy, whether by exporting natural gas to Germany and the European Union or establishing anextended partnership.

French investments, wheat imports

France has €4.6 billion in investments in infrastructure projects in Egypt, including the provision of €800 million in government loans, €1 billion from the French Development Agency, and €2 billion in bank loans guaranteed by the French state.

Trade between Egypt and France amounted to $1.83 billion in 2021.

There are 168 French companies operating in Egypt, employing tens of thousands of workers.

In recent months, Egypt and France have also intensified their economic coordination to mitigate the impact of the Ukraine war.

In June, Egypt, which relied heavily on Russia and Ukraine imported wheat, imported 63,000 tons of wheat from France as part of the country's efforts to diversify its wheat sources.

In May, Egypt and France signed an agreement to manufacture 55 air-conditioned trains for Cairo Metro Line One and provide maintenance work for them for eight years.

France’s Alstom Co. will implement the project, which will cost €776.9 million, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement.

In June 2021, Egypt and France also signed €1.7 billion worth of deals to fund projects in the fields of transport, housing, electricity, education and wholesale markets.

In military cooperation, the armed forces of both countries have held numerous joint drills in recent years to raise combat readiness.

French arms sales to Egypt increased by 44 percent between 2016 and 2020, compared to the period between 2011 and 2015. 

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