A telephone call took place between French President Emmanuel Macron and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Saturday. During the call, the French President welcomed his Egyptian counterpart to attend the forthcoming G-7 summit which will take place in France in the summer of 2019. The 45th session of the G-7 summit will be hosted in south-western France, at the city of Biarritz on 25-27 August 2019.
Besides the G-7 invitation, the two Presidents discussed other issues of bilateral interest and regional importance. Above all, they reaffirmed their deep cultural ties, since 2019 represents the Egyptian-French cultural year. Throughout the remaining months of 2019 a series of distinctive and joint cultural events will take place across both countries.
The telephone correspondence was also focused on the problem of Libya. Both parties underscored the importance of finding a mutually acceptable solution for all stakeholders involved in the crisis under the U.N. framework. Further, the Egyptian President argued that states must bolster the legitimacy of Libyan indigenous institutions such as the Libyan National Army (LNA) to facilitate easier transition to a peaceful post-war environment. The LNA is currently led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and is the main faction in the second Libyan civil war. The second Libyan Civil War erupted in 2014, when the country was effectively split into smaller factions led by local warlords. Currently, the country’s east is controlled by LNA while its major contender is the U.N.-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Al Serraj controls Tripoli. Egypt has consistently supported General Haftar’s side in the conflict. The two Presidents agreed that upon strengthening the function of local institutions, all parties involved must sit on the negotiating table to schedule a date for holding national elections.
In addition to Libya, President Macron lauded his Egyptian counterpart for successfully hosting the first E.U.-Arab League Summit in February on the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. The summit’s outcomes resulted in the formulation of new frameworks strengthening regional security and economic development. President Macron wished President Sisi to emulate the success of E.U.-Arab League Summit within the African Union’s premises in the coming months, when Egypt will undertake its presidency.
Ties between Egypt and France have ameliorated since 2014, when Cairo concluded several profitable agreements with French defence contractors for modernising Egyptian Airforce and Navy. In January 2019 President Macron visited Cairo where he met with President Sisi and congratulated on Egypt becoming a source of stability for the Middle East. Still, the French President denoted that some improvements have to be made in the area of human rights, as stability is always best complemented by respect for the rule of law.