Macron dismisses rights violations to sell arms to Egypt

Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s President Emmanuel Macron dismisses human rights violations as a reason not to sell arms to Egypt, Reuters reported yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting with the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Paris on Monday, Macron said he would not allow matters of economic cooperation and defence to hinge on disagreements over human rights. Insisting on dialogue is a more effective approach than boycotts, he said. The latter, he noted, can only have negative effects on our partner Egypt in the fight against terrorism.

Egypt and France are both concerned about instability in the Sahel, the political situation in Libya and threats that jihadist groups represent. Moreover, the two countries have come closer economically and militarily in recent years.

NGOs object

French and international human rights organisations warned in a statement before the two leaders met on Monday that Macron was ignoring violations of human rights that have occurred under Sisi. Bénédicte Jeannerod, France Director of Human Rights Watch, accused Macron of approving ruthless repression in Egypt and ignoring his commitments.

On the other hand, French officials made the point that the government avoids public discussion about other countries’ human rights records, preferring a policy where such issues and concerns are raised in private. After yesterday’s meeting, Macron noted that releasing members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights was a step in the rig

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