Statement by H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during the Joint Press Conference with President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron
Wednesday، 09 December 2020 - 12:05 AM
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful,
Your Excellency, Mr. President and Dear Friend, Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic,
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to your Excellency for kindly inviting me to pay a state visit to your friendly country. I would also like to express my appreciation for your generous hospitality and warm welcome since our arrival to Paris. This bolsters the bilateral strategic and deep-rooted friendly relations at all levels, as well as the strong political will to expansively foster such relations. Hence, during the past years, our bilateral cooperation has experienced qualitative strides forward in all fields; political, military, economic and cultural. Furthermore, regular and periodic consultation and coordination are carried out on various issues of regional and international mutual interest.
Today's talks with my friend, President Macron, were notably characterized by candor and transparency, and reflected our convergence of views on many bilateral and regional files and issues. In this vein, we reviewed, in details, all fields of bilateral cooperation; particularly economic, trade and investment, and ways to improve them to live up to the bilateral distinct political relations, which have witnessed a driving momentum over the recent years.
In this context, we underlined the importance of joint action to increase the value of French investments in Egypt and to take advantage of the current huge opportunities provided by the mega national projects in Egypt. We also highlighted the need to increase and have a balanced Egyptian-French trade exchange by providing more opportunities for Egyptian exports to access the French market. Moreover, we underscored the importance of consolidating cooperation in prioritized economic sectors; particularly in the fields of pre-university and higher education, communications, artificial intelligence applications, cyber security, digital transformation, transportation, health and infrastructure.
We have also reviewed the aspects of military cooperation and the means of strengthening cultural and scientific relations in a manner that reflects the great cultural and civilizational heritage of both countries. Furthermore, we discussed the importance of increasing the flow of French tourism to tourist destinations in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor and Aswan, in light of the strict precautionary measures applied by Egypt in those destinations; thus making the rates of Coronavirus infection almost non-existent. I have also expressed to His Excellency, the President, my praise for the decision of resuming the tourist trips between the two countries as of October 4, 2020.
Within this context, we exchanged views over the health, social and economic repercussions of the spread of the novel Coronavirus. From my side, I reviewed the tireless efforts that were exerted in dealing with this crisis, as Egypt has considerably succeeded in achieving an adequate balance between applying the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus on the one hand and resuming the economic activity and activating the social protection system to address the negative impact of this pandemic on the other hand, thus rendering Egypt as one of the few countries worldwide that was able to achieve positive economic growth rates.
On the other hand, the talks were an important opportunity to affirm the need for joint action to encourage the spread of the values of tolerance, moderation and coexistence among religions, civilizations and peoples, and to combat the phenomena of extremism, terrorism, hatred of others and racism; thus contributing to strengthening dialogue among people of different religions and cultures.
Furthermore, I affirmed the necessity of not associating terrorism with any religion, and not offending sacred symbols and beliefs. Moreover, I stressed the necessity to fully distinguish between Islam, as a great divine religion, and the practices of some extremist elements.
In this context, we also discussed our current efforts to formulate an international collective mechanism to counter hate and extremism speech with the partnership of religious institutions of all parties. This is done with the aim of spreading values of humane peace, consolidating foundations of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among all peoples.
Our discussions included an in-depth dialogue concerning the issues of human rights, racism and Islamophobia in the light of what the European continent and Middle East region witness of escalating challenges, turmoil, and armed disputes. This places a great responsibility upon us to achieve balance between maintaining security and internal stability on the one hand and preserving values of human rights with its comprehensive concept on the other hand.
In this respect, we discussed the Egyptian efforts that aimed at further strengthening human rights of all citizens without discrimination. This is done through consolidating the citizenship concept, renewing religious discourse and applying the rule of law to everyone without exception. In addition, we must update the legislative structure especially the approval of the executive regulations of the Law regulating the practice of civil work to facilitate the work of civil society organizations and enhance its organizational and financial capabilities. This is rather than launching the first comprehensive national strategy for human rights that is being prepared with the participation of the several civil society parties.
On the other hand, the regional situations in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the African Sahel region were given a great priority during our lengthy discussions in light of the great challenges and escalating risks they represent to the national security of our two countries and our mutual interests. We agreed on the importance of the confrontation of the international community to the aggressive and provocative policies pursued by regional powers that do not respect the principles of international law and good neighborliness, as well as supporting terrorist organizations and fueling conflicts in the region.
In a related context, we affirmed the necessity of continuing active endeavors to settle regional disputes peacefully based on the international legitimacy decisions. We agreed also on the importance of creating an appropriate atmosphere for the resumption of the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in accordance with the agreed terms of reference and the principle of the two-state solution that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the borders of 4 June 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital. Moreover, we stressed that a comprehensive political solution in Libya that addresses all aspects of the crisis is the only way to achieve stability for this sister country and maintain its regional unity. We also stressed the need to dismantle the armed militias and the exit of all foreign forces from Libya, in implementation of what was agreed upon during the meetings of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission.
Moreover, the latest developments in negotiations concerning the Renaissance Dam as well as the Egyptian good efforts that aim to reach a balanced and obliging legal agreement on the mechanism of filling and operation system will fulfill interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as well.
Your Excellency President Emmanuel Macron,
Finally, I would like to reiterate my thanks for your noble invitation and my due appreciation for our constructive discussions that ensure our mutual keenness on more fruitful cooperation between both countries so as to realize our mutual interests and I am looking forward to receiving you in Cairo during the coming year as a noble guest.