The international community must confront the “aggressive” and illegal actions of regional powers that risk provoking conflict in the Middle East and further afield.
This was the resounding message delivered by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi after talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Mr Sisi told a press conference that the two leaders had discussed the national security threat emanating from tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the Sahel and Middle East while also calling for the removal of foreign troops from Libya.
“We agreed that it is important to have the international community confronting aggressive and provocative policies which are pursued by regional powers that do no respect the principles of the international law and good neighbourliness, support terrorist organisations and seek to fuel conflicts in the region,” Mr Sisi said.
The Egyptian president said himself and Mr Macron also backed the need for a comprehensive political solution to the situation in Libya, and stressed “the importance of dismantling armed militias and having all foreign forces out of Libya”.
Mr Sisi was given a cavalry parade through Paris on Monday, as drums rolled and trumpets blared before he was greeted by Mr Macron at the Elysee Palace during the landmark visit. The Palestinian peace process and developing trade links were also high on the agenda.
“We agreed on the importance of stepping up joint action to increase the value of French investments in Egypt and taking advantage of the great opportunities currently provided by the mega national projects in Egypt,” Mr Sisi said.
“We also affirmed the need to boost and have a balanced trade exchange by providing more opportunities for Egyptian exports to access the French market.”
The French president said he would not base decisions on economic co-operation, or arms sales to Egypt, on human rights matters.
“It is more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue than a boycott which would only reduce the effectiveness of one our partners in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
Mr Sisi arrived in France on Sunday night when he met foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian and earlier on Monday he held talks with defence minister Florence Parly.
The French and Egyptian presidents’ stance on major foreign policy issues have recently held much in common, with both rebuking Turkey for its controversial search for gas in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s incendiary language, often aimed at Mr Macron.
They have also criticised Turkey for funnelling weapons and mercenaries to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Libya.
From 2013 and 2017, France was the main weapons supplier to Egypt.