French president in Egypt on North Africa defence and counter-terror diplomatic tour

French president in Egypt on North Africa defence and counter-terror diplomatic tour

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Cairo today to discuss arms sales and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and

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Photo: Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Cairo today to discuss arms sales and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Macron has come under fire for his support of the increasingly repressive regime in Cairo. Since el-Sisi came to power following a military coup in 2013, the country’s security services have detained hundreds of peaceful protesters, targeted journalists and blocked hundreds of websites under the guise of counterterrorism. Meanwhile, between 2013 and 2017, France has provided more than $4 billion in military equipment to Cairo, making it one of Egypt’s largest suppliers.

Do not expect Macron to significantly alter the relationship between Paris and Cairo. Equipment sales to the Middle East make up a large portion of French exports. Likewise, because of its strategic location, Egypt plays a major role in combatting terrorism in the Sinai peninsula and neighboring Libya and dealing with migrants fleeing the conflict in Syria via the Mediterranean. Though no arms deals will be locked in today, expect the two countries to finialise the sale of a dozen French Rafael fighter jets and a number of corvette warships in the coming months.

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