Egypt's Sisi, France's Macron witness signing of MoUs in Cairo

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Jan 2019

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron hold a joint
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference in Cairo on January 28, 2019. (AFP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and French President Emmanuel Macron witnessed on Monday the signing of a number of agreements between the two countries to develop education, social protection, health, transportation, foreign affairs, trade, culture and youth issues in Egypt.

The two presidents held a press conference in Cairo following the signing, where they talked about international and regional issues of mutual interest as well as human rights.

The French president said he told his Egyptian counterpart that stability and security in Egypt cannot be separated from human rights.

El-Sisi said that the Egyptian people alone can assess the political, economic and social rights they enjoy, and he highlighted Egypt's advancements in healthcare and social housing.

Before the press conference, three MoUs were signed by Egypt's Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and the executive director of the French Development Agency Rémy Rioux.

The first MoU is a strategic partnership on social and economic development from 2019 to 2023, based on Egypt's  2030 sustainable development plan.

The second involves a facilitated credit agreement with a loan of €6 million to support the social security sector in Egypt.

The third MoU is a facilitated credit agreement to support women-owned small, medium and micro enterprises with a loan of €50 million and a €1 million grant.

The Egyptian and French sides also signed an agreement to finance the fourth phase of construction of the Cairo-Heliopolis metro line with a loan of €336 million.

Earlier on Monday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his wife received the French president and first lady at Cairo's Ittihadiya Presidential Palace.

The French head of state began a three-day trip to Egypt on Sunday with a stop at Aswan, where he visited Abu Simbel Temple.

Macron's visit to Egypt comes amid unrest in France as a result of the so-called yellow vest protests, which have now reached 11 weeks of marches against Macron's economic reforms. 

Macron's visit also marks the start of 'France-Egypt 2019,' which was launched earlier this year by El-Sisi and his French counterpart to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Suez Canal.

El-Sisi last visited Paris in October 2017, where he met with Macron and discussed joint efforts to combat terrorism, the Middle East peace process, the situation in Libya, and issues related to bilateral cooperation.

This is Macron’s first official visit to Egypt since assuming office in 2017.

Egypt and France have strengthened economic and military ties since El-Sisi was elected president in 2014.

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