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‘Egypt is a very useful partner for a declining France’ says analyst

By Mourad R. Kamel
Posted on Tuesday, 1 June 2021 17:32

France Egypt
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attend a joint press conference at the Elysee palace, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

France may talk the talk when it comes to its concerns over Egypt's handling of human rights, but at the end of the day, the African country is its best customer of arms and closest ally in the fight against political Islam.

When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Egypt in January 2019, he underlined how stability and lasting peace go hand-in-hand with respect for individual freedoms and dignity as well as the rule of law. “This stability cannot be dissociated from the question of human rights,” he told Egyptian and French reporters at the Ettihadeya Palace. Macron also announced that he would be meeting with local human rights organisations – a remark that did not go unnoticed.

Given that France had hundreds of millions worth of prospective military contracts with Egypt, Macron’s words carried much weight. La Tribune reports that in the wake of Macron’s visit, the French arms attaché was summoned to be informed of the termination of prospective arm contracts that were launched in 2015 by Jean-Yves le Drian (France’s former french minister of defense under Francois Hollande, and the current minister of foreign affairs).

But a lot can happen in a year. During this time, France learned its lesson: as the saying goes ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results’. Only in this case, France was saying the same thing.