Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is meeting with President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday, a visit that represents a delicate balancing act for the French leader.
Macron is under pressure from human rights groups for France to put an end to what Human Rights Watch has deemed “disgraceful policies of indulgence” towards the former Egyptian general, who ousted the elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Egypt is a key French partner in the Middle East and a major buyer of French weapons with orders exceeding five billion euros since 2015.
“We have imprisoned no political activists,” Sisi told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview that will air on Tuesday. “Everything has been done according to the law, within its jurisdiction. Our friends can come and confirm this themselves.”
An Elysée Palace statement ahead of Sisi’s visit said the head of state pair’s talks would focus on security and regional stability “but also the human rights situation to which France is particularly attentive”. During his three-day visit to France, which began on Monday, Sisi is also slated to meet the country’s defence and foreign ministers and French business groups.