Macron ignores rights groups' calls in Sisi meeting

French president refuses to halt arms sales to Egypt over human rights allegations.

Macron ignores rights groups' calls in Sisi meeting

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed his Egyptian counterpart at the Elysee Palace on Monday despite cautionary statements and objections by human rights organizations.

Terrorism, tensions in Libya, and drilling rights in the Mediterranean were the focus of Macron's morning meetings with Egypt's Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who arrived in Paris for a three-day state visit.

Later in the afternoon, the two held a press conference at the Elysee, with Macron underlining that France's arms sales to Egypt would continue despite allegations of human rights violations.

"I will not condition matters of defense and economic cooperation on these disagreements [over human rights]," said the French president.

In 2017, France sold €1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) worth of arms to Egypt, positioning Paris above the US as the country's chief arms supplier.

Macron said that continued dialogue between the two countries was part of an "essential" alliance that he values.

"It is more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue than a boycott which would only reduce the effectiveness of one of our partners in the fight against terrorism," Macron added.

The two leaders also spoke at length about Iran and terrorism in the Sahel region in North Africa.

"We need to continue our fight against this scourge, and that is why we will provide our technical military cooperation."