French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks in Cairo on Sunday with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, on Libyan, Syrian and Palestinian issues.
Le Drian, who arrived in Cairo on Saturday evening, met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, his counterpart Sameh Choukri and the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
Sissi and Le Drian discussed the strengthening of bilateral relations and regional issues, including developments on the Libyan scene, according to Egyptian Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.
We have fruitful exchanges on this subject, including addressing individual cases on which I will not make public comments.
“There was agreement that relative progress has been made in Libya, which requires elections to be held before the end of the year,” the spokesman added.
In Libya, “the political process must move forward (…), i.e. ensure that the electoral process, which is the indispensable process, can be completed by the end of the year,” Le Drian said at a press conference with Choukri.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Syria were also mentioned during the exchanges.
In addition, the issue of human rights in Egypt was raised with President Sissi. “The vitality of civil society and the guarantee of civil liberties are the best benchmark against terrorism”, Le Drian. added.
The French minister even pointed out that it was Al- Sissi himself who “raised the question at the opening of the discussion”.
‘‘We have fruitful exchanges on this subject, including addressing individual cases on which I will not make public comments. And know that this question, the question of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in the talks I had with President Sissi, is not to break a secret ,but let me say that he raised this issue in opening discussions’‘, he said.
Al-Sissi’s regime is regularly singled out by human rights organizations that denounce violations of individual freedoms and repression of opponents.
Le Drian also met French business leaders based in Egypt and visited the construction site of the new Cairo metro line built in cooperation with France.
Before ending his visit, the French foreign minister also visited the construction site of the new Egyptian museum, at the foot of the pyramids of the plateau of Giza.
This is his tenth trip to this country. Le Drian was a mastermind of arms deals concluded between France and Egypt.